(ASSOCIATED PRESS) BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama judge on Thursday acquitted the man accused of drowning his newlywed wife during a honeymoon diving trip to Australia eight years ago, saying in an unusual ruling that prosecutors did not prove the man intentionally killed his wife to collect on a life insurance policy.

Circuit Judge Tommy Nail issued his ruling before the defense had even presented its case in the two-week-long trial and before jurors were given the case to deliberate.

Prosecutor Don Valeska, head of the violent crimes division for the state attorney general’s office, said he never before had a trial end in a judge’s acquittal in 41 years of trying cases.

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