A British Virgin Islands judge has ruled that a Rhode Island man must serve at least 25 years for killing his wife while diving in the Caribbean in 1999.

David Swain faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison following his murder conviction last month.

SLIDESHOW: Rhode Island Man Accused of Murder

The defense asked that the 53-year-old be eligible for parole after 18 years.

But the judge sided with the prosecutor and sentenced him to at least 25 years in Her Majesty's Prison at Balsam Ghut on the island of Tortola.

Local authorities initially found no evidence of a crime after Shelley Tyre died while scuba diving. But Swain was charged after a civil court in the U.S. found him responsible for the death.