A federal judge in Los Angeles issued an order yesterday certifying that a former reality show producer has met the legal requirements to be extradited to Mexico to face charges of killing his wife while they were vacationing in Cancun.
Bruce Beresford-Redman’s lawyers said they would appeal the judge’s order.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian wrote in the 17-page document that “sufficient evidence has been presented to establish probable cause that Beresford-Redman … committed the offense for which extradition has been sought, namely the aggravated homicide of Monica Burgos Beresford-Redman. … the court concludes that Beresford-Redman is extraditable for the offense for which extradition has been requested.”
Defense attorney Richard G. Hirsch said he has two or three weeks to file an appeal with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If that fails, the case could eventually be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Beresford Redman is charged in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, with aggravated homicide in the death of his 41-year-old wife of 11 years. Her nude, beaten body was found at a Cancun resort on April 8, 2010, three days after her husband reported her missing.
Mexican authorities collected evidence that allegedly suggests that Beresford-Redman killed the West Los Angeles restaurant owner and then dumped her body in a sewer 25 meters from their room at the hotel where they were staying with their two children.
At a July 12 hearing in Los Angeles federal court, Hirsch and co-counsel Vicki Podberesky argued against extradition, claiming statements from the couple’s 6-year-old daughter suggest the couple were getting along during the trip and there was no evidence of a fight.
“If the court looks at this evidence through the lens of common sense,” no proof exists to suggest Beresford-Redman committed the murder, Hirsch argued then.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin R. Rhoades countered that Beresford-Redman allegedly killed his wife for three reasons — insurance money, custody of the children, and to continue an extramarital affair with a co-worker. “So, the fugitive had a motive to murder his wife,” Rhoades told Chooljian earlier this month.
The prosecutor further argued that there were “very strong grounds” to suggest Beresford-Redman was “lying in wait” for the victim and had an “unfair advantage” over her in terms of strength and size.
Rhoades said that during the final year of the couple’s marriage, Beresford-Redman became increasingly aggressive toward his wife, particularly after she found out about her husband’s affair.
According to papers filed by U.S. prosecutors, Monica Beresford-Redman was struck on the head with a bat-like object, her face was pummeled and her body sustained trauma consistent with being thrown against the hotel-room Jacuzzi. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation.
The prosecutor alleged the “victim fought back,” leaving scratches and bruises on her husband’s head and body. Defense attorneys maintain the injuries were the result of a Cancun jungle boat trip the family took days earlier.
Police searched the couple’s hotel room and allegedly found blood spatter throughout the bathroom, on a pillow, on a piece of furniture and on a balcony leading to a garden, according to court documents.
On the day his wife disappeared, prosecutors allege Beresford-Redman placed a “Do Not Disturb” placard on their hotel room door and refused to allow the maid to clean until a day later.
Rhoades said that hours before he reported his wife missing, the suspect’s electronic room key card shows the door was opened and closed several times around 4 a.m., possibly to “see if the coast is clear before disposing of a dead
Podberesky discounted such potential evidence, saying that all Mexican prosecutors have against her client is “the idea of motive.”
Beresford-Redman left Cancun after his wife’s death and was arrested seven months later by U.S. authorities at his Rancho Palos Verdes home.
“His last act in Mexico was to flee across the border … from prosecution,” Rhoades said earlier.
The couple’s two young children are in the custody of their paternal grandparents.
To view the full text of Magistrate Judge Chooljian’s opinion click here.
This article was published by Fox LA on July 26, 2011.
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