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SANTA ANA, Calif.
(AP) - A California grand jury has indicted a Florida
man on charges he strangled his ex-wife and tossed her off a cruise ship in Italy.
Lonnie Kocontes, 55, who used to
live in Southern California, was indicted by an Orange County
grand jury on Friday and did not enter a plea during his Superior Court
arraignment Monday, the Orange County Register
Kocontes remained jailed Tuesday. He
is charged with murder for financial gain, which carries a potential death
penalty and a minimum sentence of life in prison without chance of parole.
Kocontes will try to have the case
dismissed at a June 26 hearing, arguing that local authorities lack
jurisdiction to prosecute.
He and Micki Kanesaki, 52, divorced
in 2001 after six years of marriage but continued to live together, off and on,
in southern Orange
County. They were sharing
a cabin during a May 2006 Mediterranean cruise when she went overboard. Her
body later washed ashore.
Italian police investigated but did
not arrest Kocontes.
Another investigation began in 2008
after Kocontes began transferring more than $1 million from Kanesaki's bank
accounts into joint accounts he held with his new wife, authorities said.
He was arrested in February and
pleaded not guilty to murder in May, but the case was dismissed. Prosecutors
then moved to refile the charges, and another judge ruled that they could
proceed. Last week, prosecutors presented evidence before the grand jury and
obtained an indictment.
Information from: The Orange County
(Copyright 2013 The Associated
Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed.)
Thursday, August 28 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:33:06 GMT
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