Criminal Procedure

Lawyer accused of killing ex-wife on Italian cruise can be tried in California, judge rules

A California judge has ruled he has jurisdiction to try a lawyer accused of killing his ex-wife and throwing her overboard while on a cruise off the coast of Italy.

Judge Gregg Prickett of Orange County stayed his ruling to allow an appeal by the defendant, Lonnie Loren Kocontes, report CBS Los Angeles and City News Service.

Kocontes, 55, is accused of killing his ex-wife, Micki Kanesaki, for financial gain in May 2006. He had told reporters at the time that Kanesaki had been despondent and he couldn’t rule out suicide, the Los Angeles Times reported in June. An autopsy concluded that the woman had been strangled.

Kocontes had met Kanesaki when she was working at a paralegal at the law firm where he worked, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office. They married in 2001 and divorced in 2006, but lived together off and on until Kanesaki’s death.

Kocontes first came to the attention of federal authorities in 2008 when he tried to move $1 million through bank accounts with his new wife, the stories say. The money was seized in a civil forfeiture.

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