A reality TV producer is hoping his 6-year-old daughter will be allowed to testify at his extradition hearing this week and unravel authorities’ theory that he murdered his wife in their Cancun, Mexico, suite.
Bruce Beresford-Redman, who made a name for himself overseeing “Survivor,” has seemingly adopted the show’s title as his mantra as authorities seek to extradite him to Mexico on charges that he suffocated Monica Beresford-Redman in April 2010 and dumped her body into a wastewater treatment tank.
The family vacation was a last-ditch effort to repair the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., couple’s troubled 11-year marriage, according to U.S. prosecutors and Mexican police, who said Bruce Beresford-Redman’s wife had caught her husband cheating and left him briefly in the month before her death.
But his lawyers say there was a “rush to judgment” after his wife’s body was discovered, and they will ask a federal judge Tuesday to reject extradition.
“They have mostly circumstantial evidence based on some noises heard from the hotel and some scratches on him,” said attorney Vicki L. Podberesky.
The daughter’s testimony will show there is no probable cause to support his extradition, Podberesky said, and that she last saw her mother when the woman left the suite for a solo shopping trip April 5, 2010. Monica Beresford-Redman, 41, never returned.
Bruce Beresford-Redman’s defense in court papers portrays the Cancun jurisdiction as having a history of corruption and attacks on tourists.
In 2006, a Canadian couple was killed at another Cancun resort and authorities accused two Canadian women of double murder. The crime was later found to have been committed by a hotel security guard.
Witness testimony in extradition hearings is at the judge’s discretion, and child witnesses are rare in federal court.
A judge in an extradition proceeding needs to find only probable cause, veteran attorneys said.
Bruce Beresford-Redman’s attorneys said in court papers that the girl can explain her father’s cuts and scratches and the loud noises that emanated from their suite.
The girl told her therapist and one of the producer’s lawyers that the noises were part of loud games, according to a defense motion filed last Wednesday. The screams other hotel guests heard were her brother yelling, she said.
As to the cuts, she “recalls that her father obtained scratches during a trip they took to an underground river,” and she remembers putting bandages on her father’s arms and legs.
Without the noise and scratches, the producers’ lawyers say, “there is a complete lack of forensic evidence.” They note that blood evidence examined in the room and on a pillowcase did not match either Beresford-Redman.
The lawyers say the girl would also testify that her parents did not yell at or hit each in Mexico and that her mother left wearing a blue dress the day she disappeared. Her last words to her daughter were, “I love you; I’ll be back soon.”
Federal prosecutors, however, said the move to call the girl is intended to distract the court from “overwhelming evidence” that the 40-year-old producer “killed his wife” and fled Mexico despite agreeing to remain there.
Prosecutors painted a picture of a desperate man who was caught in an affair and killed his restaurateur wife, then tried to cover his tracks.
Six weeks before her killing, Monica Beresford-Redman told her sister that she caught her husband cheating after discovering romantic emails.
The sister, Jean Ferreira Burgos, told Mexican investigators that Monica Beresford-Redman again discovered email exchanges with the other woman.
The day before his wife disappeared, the reality TV producer nearly hit his wife outside the resort, a hotel employee told Mexican investigators.
The next morning, April 5, an English family reported being awakened about 6 a.m. by screams and crying from the producer’s room.
The producer allegedly told a hotel staffer that he had been arguing with his wife over the children’s behavior.
That morning his wife went shopping about 8 a.m. and never returned, Bruce Beresford-Redman told authorities. His wife left without a passport, cellphone or key card.
That entire day, a “do not disturb” sign hung on their hotel room door.
In the early hours of April 6, a key card was used to open the room’s door, including four times around 4 a.m.
Two days later, Monica Beresford-Redman’s nude body was found in the sewage tank. There was a wound on the face and some hair had been pulled out. She had been suffocated. Her credit card and most of her money were gone, but not her wedding band.
The majority of this article was written by Richard Winton and published by the Los Angeles Times on July 11, 2011.
Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.
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