A 55-year-old Safety Harbor man was arrested Friday night on murder charges stemming from the 2006 death of his ex-wife.
Lonnie Loren Kocontes is being held without bond at the Pasco County Jail. He is awaiting extradition back to California where he will face one felony count of murder for financial gain.
The body of Micki Kanesaki was found floating off the coast of Paola, Italy on May 27, 2006. According to investigators the couple boarded a ship for a Mediterranean cruise six days prior.
After an excursion to Messina, Italy on May 25th Kocontes and Kanesaki returned to the ship. It was the last time anyone saw Kanesaki alive.
The suspect told detectives at the time of the incident that his ex-wife was suicidal. They now say he strangled Kanesaki, tossed her body overboard and reported her missing.
Kocontes has since remarried.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating the former California attorney in 2008 after he and his new wife moved approximately $1 million from several accounts into a joint account.
The United States Attorney General's Office has since seized the money.
Records indicate the suspect and Kanesaki married in 1995 but divorced in 2001. They reportedly lived together on and off until 2006, when they went on the cruise.
If he's convicted Kocontes faces a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It is not yet known when the suspect will be returned to California to face charges.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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