Published July 12, 2011
LOS ANGELES – A judge on Tuesday ordered a reality TV producer to be returned to Mexico to face a charge that he killed his wife while on a family vacation 15 months ago.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian issued her ruling after an extradition hearing in Los Angeles.
Bruce Beresford-Redman has been jailed since November on a fugitive warrant issued after Mexican authorities in Cancun charged him with the aggravated homicide of his wife, Monica Beresford-Redman.
He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
The former "Survivor" producer's attorneys have said he is innocent and challenged the case against him, calling it a rush to judgment.
Monica Beresford-Redman's body was found in a sewer cistern at an upscale Cancun resort in April 2010.
The ruling came after defense lawyers withdrew a request to call as a witness the 6-year-old daughter of Bruce Beresford-Redman amid unspecified concerns about the girl's ability to testify in defense of her father.
After months of attempting to discredit Mexican authorities and attacking the case, Beresford-Redman made another attempt Tuesday to persuade a U.S. magistrate judge that he should be freed.
The judge, however, ordered the extradition after finding there was probable cause the producer killed his wife and that he should be sent to Cancun to stand trial.
The couple had gone on the trip to try to repair their marriage, which had been damaged by an affair Bruce Beresford-Redman had with a co-worker.
His attorneys claim Mexican authorities rushed to judgment and built a case accusing Bruce Beresford-Redman based on motive rather than physical evidence.
Monica Beresford-Redman owned a popular Brazilian-themed restaurant in Los Angeles.
Calling the couple's 6-year-old daughter to testify during the hearing could have been problematic.
Witnesses are not generally called during extradition proceedings, and calling a child witness might have presented issues of who would question the girl and whether her testimony should be conducted in a closed session.
Statements filed by her therapist and one of Bruce Beresford-Redman's attorneys suggested the girl would have testified that she never saw her father act violently toward her mother during the Cancun vacation.
The girl also told the therapist and attorney that she recalled her mother leaving the hotel room to go shopping on the day she went missing.
The defendants attorneys argue that the producer had no obligation to remain in Cancun while his wife's death was investigated, although federal prosecutors and Mexican authorities both say his return to Los Angeles was illegal and should count against him in the extradition proceeding.
Prosecutors say there is overwhelming evidence against the producer that justifies his being sent to Mexico. In court filings, they cite a resort worker's recollection that he saw someone matching
Bruce Beresford-Redman's description attempting to strike a woman during an argument at the hotel.
They also point to a noise complaint from tourists in another room that cited screams that appeared to be coming from a woman in distress coming from the Beresford-Redmans' hotel room.