A Tennessee man accused of murdering his newlywed wife during their honeymoon on Fiji denied confessing to the slay as he asked a judge to release him on bail due to poor health.

Bradley Dawson, 38, appeared in the High Court of Lautoka on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to killing Christe Chen Dawson, 36, at the exclusive Turtle Island Resort in July.

The woman was found lying in a pool of blood in the bathroom, after allegedly having been beaten to death inside the couple’s bungalow on July 9, just two days after the Dawsons had checked into the tropical resort.

An autopsy report reviewed by Daily Mail later found that the Tennessee pharmacist died of multiple traumatic injuries, including head trauma resulting in a brain bleed.

Dawson was arrested the following day on a remote island a mile away, which he had reached by kayak. 

Turtle Island Resort in July
The couple was on their honeymoon at Turtle Island Resort in Fiji.
Instagram/Christe Chen Dawson

Prosecutors presented to Judge Riyaz Hamza the contents of Dawson’s police interview after his arrest, in which they said the suspect admitted to getting into a drunken fight with his wife, which escalated to a physical confrontation resulting in a shattered window and a cracked toilet in their cottage, reported ABC News.

“Christe was next to the toilet. She was hurt,” Dawson allegedly told police. “There was blood and a cut on her face.”

The IT specialist said that he “freaked out” and fled on a kayak, prosecutors said, adding that at the time of Dawson’s arrest, he was found to be in possession of $1,000 in cash, his passport and two credit cards.

Bradley Dawson
Bradley Dawson pleaded not guilty to killing his wife, Christe Chen Dawson.
Tim Tava for Fox News Digital

During the hearing on Wednesday, Dawson’s attorney, Iqbal Khan, challenged the prosecution’s claim that his client had admitted guilt in his wife’s death.

Khan told the court that after his interview with the local police, Dawson refused to sign a statement allegedly containing a confession.

Dawson’s defense asked the judge to set bail for his release, arguing in a court filing that he is “not in good health” and needs to consult doctors about his prescription medications, according to Fox News.

the Tennessee pharmacist died of multiple traumatic injuries, including head trauma resulting in a brain bleed.
The Tennessee pharmacist suffered from head trauma resulting in a brain bleed.
University of Tennessee Health

The filing also alleged that Dawson’s mother depends on him financially and “will mentally suffer” if he remained jailed.

Khan argued in the bail application that holding Dawson without bail until his trial, which could begin as late as 2024, would be a “substantial miscarriage of justice.”

If the judge agrees to set bail for Dawson, his lawyer promised that he would turn in his passport and stay at a friend’s house in Legalega, Nadi.

Christie Chen
The woman was found lying in a pool of blood in the bathroom after allegedly being beaten to death.
Christe Chen Dawson/Instagram

Prosecutors and Chen Dawson’s family had opposed bail for Dawson, claiming that he was a flight risk, citing his hasty escape after his wife’s death.

Prosecutor Alvin Singh also noted that the friend who would be hosting Dawson is currently facing sex-crime charges.

Before the hearing, Dawson told ABC News that he regrets he “could not protect” his wife, and said he was reading the Bible daily and praying for Chen Dawson.

“I can only think of her and pray for her,” he told the outlet. “I love her so much.”

The Dawsons
Dawson’s bail hearing is set for Sept. 14.

The couple wed in Feb. 2022 after what has been described as a “whirlwind romance,” reported the Daily Beast.

A bail hearing for Dawson has been set for Sept. 14.


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