A man awaiting trial for allegedly strangling his second wife and tossing her off the side of a cruise ship in Italy reportedly tried to hire inmates to kill his third wife as well.
Lonnie Kocontes, a former California lawyer, now faces charges for soliciting the murder of his third wife, who has not been identified, after her testimony led to his arrest in the death of his second wife, Micki Kanesaki, reports the Orange County Register.
Kanesaki’s body was found floating in Italian waters in May 2006, two days after she was reported missing from a Mediterranean cruise she’d embarked on with Kocontes.
Initially, Kocontes, now 57, was cleared of any wrongdoing in Kanesaki’s death when police first investigated it, thanks in part to his third wife’s testimony. But she later changed her story, resulting in Kocontes’ arrest in 2013.
Prosecutors claim that Kocontes wrote a letter stating that his third wife had lied in her 2013 testimony. He allegedly hired two inmates to deliver that letter to her, force her to sign it and then kill her, according to the Los Angeles Times.
However, one of the inmates then told his lawyer about the plan, which led to new charges for the ex-attorney, including two counts of solicitation to commit murder and one count of solicitation to bribe a witness.
Kocontes told investigators in 2006 that his wife had gone to make a cup of tea and he never saw her again. But he attracted suspicion in 2008 after he began transferring more than $1 million among bank accounts he shared with a fourth wife. the Times reports. That $1 million came from the sale of Kanesaki’s home, as well as from her bank accounts.
He is due in court on Thursday for a hearing on the new charges. He already faces life in prison without parole on charges stemming from Kanesaki’s death.
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