SANTA ANA (AP) — A Florida man awaiting trial for allegedly strangling his ex-wife and tossing her overboard during a Mediterranean cruise tried to hire two inmates to kill another ex-wife, prosecutors in California said.
Lonnie Kocontes planned to have his second wife killed after forcing her to sign a letter recanting her testimony in the murder case involving his first wife, the Orange County district attorney’s office said Monday.
One of the two inmates told the inmates’ lawyer, who notified the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. It led to the new charges.
Kocontes now faces two counts of solicitation to commit murder and one count of solicitation to bribe a witness. That’s on top of the murder for financial gain charge he already faces in the cruise ship killing.
Kocontes has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Kocontes was arrested in February 2012. He is due in court Thursday.
Kocontes and Micki Kanesaki were divorced but lived together on and off in Mission Viejo. They were on a cruise in 2006 when she went overboard. Her body washed ashore in Italy the next day.
An investigation began in 2008 when Kocontes began transferring more than $1 million from Kanesaki’s bank accounts.