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Point of Law: Death in Paradise

  • By G.Monty Manibog

(Editor’s note:  Former Monterey Park Mayor, Monty Manibog is a regular columnist offering legal tips and perspectives on high profile legal cases and events.)

“AMADA (‘beloved’ in Portuguese) MONICA, WE LOVE AND MISS YOU,” reads a large, heart designed sign that adorns a wall at the “Zabumba” restaurant and night club near the corner of Overland and Venice Boulevard in West Los Angeles.  It is owned and operated by the Brazilian family of the late Monica Beresford Redman (formerly Monica Burgos) whose dismembered body was found in a Cancun sewer system on April 8, 2010 near the luxury hotel where she had been vacationing with her husband and 2 children, ages 3 and 6.

Bruce Beresford Redman, the husband, a well known television producer, told Mexican police that Monica went shopping 2 days before and never returned.  The police advised Redman not to leave Mexico while they investigated the death of his wife.  However, he immediately returned to California with his 2 children and at the request of the Mexican government, now sits in a Los Angeles county jail awaiting an extradition hearing to face murder charges in Mexico.
Monica died of blunt force trauma to the head, allegedly delivered by her husband in their hotel room, who then dismembered her and threw the body parts into the nearby sewer system.  Hotel guests also told police they heard shouting, fighting and the loud sounds of falling objects emanating from the Redmans’ room the day of her disappearance.  Others also reportedly saw him near the sewer drop about the time she disappeared.
Since Bruce Redman is a suspect in his wife’s murder, Mexican authorities will likely win an extradition hearing to return him to Mexico to face a murder charge since an extradition treaty exists between the U.S. and Mexico.  The only hitch, of course, is that Redman will escape the death penalty if convicted since Mexico does not recognize the death penalty.
I recently had the pleasure and honor of meeting Monica’s family at the Zabumba Club in the company of our daughter, Lisa Brennan (former Miss Monterey Park) and husband Peter (both former producers of Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Cristina’s Court, Hard Copy and Current Affairs), who are currently working on their next TV production featuring the murders of American wives in foreign countries, whose husbands are facing murder trials in those countries. 
“Coxinha,” “steak picunha,” “capirinha,” anyone?  You need not travel to Brazil for some tasty Portuguese influenced dishes of Brazil, a former colony of Portugal.  Just visit the Zabumba night club and restaurant, a happy and enjoyable place with a Brazilian band playing fast and lively samba beats that have the dance floor crowded with patrons gyrating with body movements typically seen at Rio de Janeiro’s yearly world-famous “Carnivale” festivities.
The Zabumba club is highly recommended for its exotic cuisine, ambience and entertainment but, most of all, you’ll meet the charming, warm and hospitable family members who run the club, especially the attractive surviving sisters Carla and Jeanne.  Although still grieving over the grisly murder of their beloved departed Monica, they still manage to extend a warm and sincere welcome to their guests, many of whom are friends and well wishers who visit the restaurant to honor Monica’s memory and contribute to a fund in her name, and we were pleased to place our donation in the memorial basket for a good cause.
We can soon expect more sensational news coverage on Monica’s murder in the beautiful vacation resort of Cancun as her husband fights extradition proceedings.  His quandary, however, may be between a merciful death sentence in the U.S. or a life sentence in some unbearable 3rd world jail.  Justice, indeed, comes in many forms and Monica’s killer may still wish for a speedy death penalty in the U.S. 
Also, look forward to more breaking news about the Great Barrier Reef murder of Tina Watson, a young American bride, whose air hose was severed while scuba diving on her Australian honeymoon wither her husband, Gabe Watson.   Watson was convicted of manslaughter in Australia, served a brief jail term there but now faces murder charges in Alabama, as state prosecutors have convinced a grand jury to indict him for murder since he apparently plotted the honeymoon murder in Alabama for the insurance coverage on her life. 
Ironically, death in paradise is never a part of a resort vacation agenda, at least not the hereafter paradise.  But justice will no doubt prevail, and because the alleged murderers are not radical suicide bombers, no virgins will be waiting for them in “paradise.”

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