Former Orange County attorney Lonnie Kocontes was arrested Friday for allegedly strangling his ex-wife while the two were on vacation in Italy in 2006, the Orange County District Attorney's office said Saturday..
Kocontes was arrested where he lives in Safety Harbor, Florida. He faces murder charges with a special circumstance for financial gain. If convicted, he could be eligible for the death penalty, according to the District Attorney's office.
Micki Kanesaki, 52, of Ladera Ranch was found in the sea near Reggio di Calabria, Italy on May 27, 2006. She had been reported missing by her ex-husband Kocontes the day before. The couple divorced in 2001, but had decided to take a vacation together to the Mediterranean in the hopes of rekindling their relationship.
At the time, Kocontes had said that his ex-wife had gone missing after going on to the deck early in the morning May 26th, according to the Los Angeles Times.
An autopsy report concluded she had been strangled. The FBI, Italian police, and Southern Californian agencies have been investigating the death since.
Kocontes was the recipient of several bank accounts and property after his ex-wife's death. In 2008, he tried to move over a million dollars to an account he shared with his new wife. That triggered an investigation into illegal activity by the FBI, who shared the information with the Orange County District Attorney.
Saying it had discovered more evidence related to Kanesaki's death, the D.A. filed murder charges against Kocontes on Wednesday.