A man charged with beating his wife to death on their honeymoon is denying that he committed the crime. Speaking from a jail in Fiji, defendant Bradley Robert Dawson, 38, told ABC News in a Thursday report that he and Christe Chen Dawson, 39 “never had any physical arguments in [their] relationship.”
A former girlfriend of the suspect’s has previously called him “manipulative,” and said that he once pushed and chased her.
Bradley Dawson’s interview marks his first public comments on his wife’s death. Christe was found dead in their hotel room at the Turtle Island Resort on July 9. Local police claim he killed his wife and left the scene. He was arrested in the city of Nadi. An attorney for Christe’s family has reportedly said defendant Dawson left the room with just his wallet and passport, indicating a plan to flee Fiji.
In the jailhouse interview, Dawson maintained his innocence. He acknowledged stepping out on July 8, but he claimed it was after he and Christe got into an argument while both drunk. He took a kayak to a neighboring island, he said.
“I just wanted to give her some space,” he said. “It was normal for me to take a walk.”
Turtle Island Resort reportedly only takes in 14 couples at a time.
One of those vacationers told police that the Dawsons seemed happy on the evening of this alleged fight, but she later heard “loud banging sounds” from their room, according to a police report obtained by ABC.
“It was as if someone was drunk and unable to control themselves inside,” she said. “And then we heard a loud scream followed by a big loud bang and after that there were complete silence.”
A resort staff member told the outlet they did receive a noise complaint regarding the Dawson room. They waited until the following day to check; the couple failed to show up for meals.
By all accounts, Christe and Bradley’s relationship was a whirlwind romance. They reportedly met in November. They seemed happy, a neighbor in Memphis, Tennessee, said, according to Fox News in a July 29 report. She described Bradley Dawson as “shy but friendly.”
“I can’t imagine a mean bone on him,” she said.
The picture gets more complicated with his prior relationships in mind. When IT Specialist Bradley met pharmacist Christe, he was still technically with another woman, whom he had married in 2019. That couple’s divorce was finalized in January, just a month before his marriage with Christe.
The neighbor reportedly said she was not sure why defendant Dawson divorced his previous wife.
Then there’s Kristen Baker. She used to date Bradley Dawson when they were undergrad students at the University of Tennessee, according to Good Morning America. They started the relationship in 2005.
“We fell madly in love, and it was definitely intense and fast,” she said.
But she claimed that he once pushed her when she wanted to leave him. He chased her, she said.
“He was very verbally, verbally manipulative and threatening and jealous,” she said.
They broke up for good the following year, she said.
As for Bradley, he said from jail that he misses Christe. He called her “my everything.”
“Just thinking she is not here anymore is so painful,” he said. “I am thinking of her all the time. We were supposed to have an amazing life.”
Defendant Dawson remains locked up behind bars without bail. A bail hearing is set for Sept. 1.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[image via Christe Chen/Facebook; screengrab/FBC News]
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