Thursday, February 16, 2012

Former U.S. TV producer of Survivor bound over for trial in Cancún murder

All the motive that any prosecutor would want . . .

Cancún, Quintana Roo -
Former U.S. television producer Bruce Beresford-Redman, who was once behind the popular TV series Survivor, has been bound over after a preliminary criminal hearing and ordered to stand trial for spousal homicide in Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Caribbean Riviera Maya coast.

Beresford-Redman is alleged to have murdered his Brazilian born wife, Mónica Burgos. The couple have two children.

While vacationing at the Moon Palace resort in Cancún in April 2010, Mónica vanished. Several days later her body was found in a drainage canal not far from the hotel. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation. Hotel employees allegedly heard a loud quarrel between the parties the day she went missing (which Beresford-Redman has denied). In any case, local authorities advised him that he was a person of interest, and instructed him not to leave the city pending a full investigation. They seized his passport to ensure that he wouldn't. Beresford-Redman managed to get out anyway (my guess is via Belize, which borders Quintana Roo state on the south, but that's just a hunch).

In November 2010 Mexico issued an international arrest warrant for Beresford-Redman, charging him with the equivalent of first degree murder. He was promptly picked up by U.S. Marshals in Los Angeles, and denied bail. With American attorneys at his side, Beresford-Redman fought a long, hard, but ultimately unsuccessful battle to avoid extradition. He was flown back to Cancún in chains two weeks ago, in the custody of Mexican agents.

A preliminary or "probable cause" hearing, as it's called in the United States, has been underway in the case for the past week. Yesterday (Feb. 15) the judge ruled that there is sufficient evidence to hold Beresford-Redman for a full trial at a later date. The decision doesn't mean that he's guilty, just that there's sufficient evidence to proceed forward. This type of hearing is often a mere formality, with the result a foregone conclusion. But not in this case. Beresford-Redman and his attorneys put on a full-scale defense in an effort to get the charges dismissed sooner rather than later. It didn't work, which means that he'll likely be in jail for many months before stage two unfolds in the slower-than-molasses Mexican prosecutorial system. His attorneys said they plan to appeal the preliminary ruling, but it's unlikely to be reversed at this early stage.

Prosecutors have strong evidence of motive: a stormy marital relationship between the parties, and Beresford-Redman's admitted ongoing affair with another woman. One other thing, too. There was a $500,000 life insurance policy on Mónica, payable to their minor children on her death.

July 17 - No release for Bruce Beresford-Redman

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