Man arrested after throwing his former wife off cruise shipBy Mason White 5:51 AM February 19, 2013
By: Eva Fett
(Scroll down for video) A man was arrested and charged with murder after strangling his former wife to death and then throwing her body off a cruise ship, according to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
The California man was arrested in Southwest Florida on a murder warrant in the death of his former wife, who went overboard from an Italian cruise ship.
Lonnie Kocontes, 55, was arrested on Friday night by federal police and booked into the Pasco County Jail, where he was held without bail, authorities said.
He was charged with one count of special circumstances murder for profit, according to Farrah Emami, who is a spokesperson for the Orange County Office of the District Attorney.
Kocontes’ former wife, Micki Kanesaki, plunged into the Mediterranean Sea, near the Island Escape, when the ship was sailing between Sicily and Naples, according to the FBI. Her body washed ashore the next day in Calabria, south of Italy.
Kanesaki, 52, shared a cabin with Kocontes, her former husband. The couple divorced in 2002 after six years of marriage, but lived together in Mission Viejo, California, court records showed.
Kanesaki left her room around 1:00 am to have a cup of tea, Andy Furlong, who is a spokesperson for the cruise ship, said. Kocontes, a lawyer, reported her missing after he woke up and could not find her after a search.
Italian police boarded the ship, seized records and video recordings and took statements from the crew.
Prosecutors said Saturday that Kocontes strangled Kaneski to death on board the ship and then threw her off the ship.
Her former husband claimed that she committed suicide, a claim which her family denied.
If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole and is eligible for the death penalty.
Mobile video not loading? Click here to view