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An Orange County man awaiting trial for allegedly strangling his ex-wife and throwing her from a cruise ship off the Italian coast only added to his troubles while in custody, Orange County prosecutors say, by trying to hire two inmates to kill a witness.

Lonnie Loren Kocontes, 57, has been in custody since 2013, when Orange County sheriff’s investigators concluded his ex-wife’s death at sea in 2006 was not an accident or suicide but the culmination of a plot that netted him more than $1 million.

The body of Micki Kanesaki was found floating in Italian waters two days after she was reported missing. By then, Kocontes had already returned to the United States and was with his then-mistress, Orange County prosecutors said.

Authorities investigated Kanesaki’s death at the time, and his mistress testified before an Orange County grand jury as part of the probe, prosecutors said. But her story apparently changed when she testified for investigators again in 2013, because then Kocontes allegedly wanted her dead.

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