SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A former Irvine attorney was sentenced Friday to life without the possibility of parole for strangling his ex-wife and throwing her overboard during a Mediterranean cruise 14 years ago.
Lonnie Loren Kocontes, 62, was convicted in June of first-degree murder in the death of his ex-wife, Micki Kanesaki, while they were on a Mediterranean cruise in 2006. Prosecutors say Kocontes killed Kanesaki the more than $1 million he stood to inherit from their shared bank accounts and the sale of their home.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Kocontes thought he had committed the perfect crime by throwing Kanesaki from their cruise ship, but made a mistake.
“Despite all of his painstaking planning to pick the perfect ship, the perfect room and the perfect time to commit a murder, the fact that he strangled her before throwing her overboard gave us the very evidence to convict him of murder,” Spitzer said in a statement. “She couldn’t breathe in water because she was dead long before her body ever hit the ocean and when authorities found her, her cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation – not drowning.”
Kanesaki’s body was found floating off the coast of Paola, Italy, on May 27, 2006, the same day Kocontes returned to California.
Kanesaki’s brother, Toshi Kanesaki, called his former brother-in-law “a cold-blooded killer, a sociopath.”
“You are rotten to the core. I never want to see you again,” Toshi Kanesaki said.