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Local man accused of murdering wife on Italian cruise speaks | News

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Local man accused of murdering wife on Italian cruise speaks
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SAFETY HARBOR, Florida -- It was supposed to be a second chance for romance for the California attorney and his wife. They wanted to rekindle their romance on an Italian cruise from Sicily to Naples.

It seemed like the perfect idea.

The two had a tumultuous relationship. They were known to be volatile with each other. The cops had been called to their home on occasion. They even discussed divorce.

But, the cruise was supposed to fix all that.

However, the ending to this tragic fairy tale still has people reeling seven years after it happened. Lonnie Kocontes and his wife, Micki Kanesaki, did not return to the West coast together. Micki's body was tossed overboard from the Island Escape Cruise ship in May 2006. Her body floated ashore on the Italian coastline.

Lonnie flew home, sources say, the day his wife's corpse was discovered.

The question remains: what in the world happened on that luxury cruise? Lonnie claims he took an Ambien sleeping tablet and went to bed. The two had just had a glass of wine. He also claims his wife said she was going to the ship's cafe to get some tea between midnight and 1 a.m.  Sources say that Lonnie woke up around 4:30 a.m. to find his wife gone. Micki never returned.

Lonnie was quoting as saying, "I was committed to this woman. I wish I had never had gone on the cruise."

Lonnie returned to the U.S. and was cleared in Micki's untimely death. However, the case was far from over in 2006.

In 2008, the case garnered interest again. The California attorney remarried. Investigators say he moved money around to numerous accounts with his new wife. The amount of money was substantial -- $1 million.

That's when the FBI became involved.

In addition, the Orange County District Attorney's Office in California was also interested and wanted further evidence in the case, noting that there is no statute of limitations for murder.

Additional evidence was discovered in the case, although the D.A. in Orange County did not disclose what the evidence was.

On Feb. 13, 2013, just hours before Valentine's Day, the Orange County D.A. filed murder charges against Lonnie Kocontes, who now lives in Safety Harbor.

The charge is one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain. Authorities believe that Lonnie wanted to kill Micki for money because he was the beneficiary of several bank accounts and property.

The case is being handled in California since authorities believe it was premeditated there.

Lonnie Kocontes is being held in the Pasco County Jail after his arrest over the weekend in Wesley Chapel.  He is awaiting extradition to California. Meanwhile, his current wife has not released a statement to the press.

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