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Kocontes Pleads Not Guilty of Cruise Ship Strangling

A Mission Viejo man accused of strangling his wife aboard a cruise ship off the Italian coast pleaded not guilty Thursday morning.

Lonnie Loren Kocontes, 55, entered his plea at the 9:30 a.m. arraignment hearing.

The prosecution has requested the judge allow a special circumstances enhancement of "murder for financial gain" in the death of Micki Kaneski, Kocontes' ex-wife. The court website reflects no decision on that point.

Read more details about the case, Kocontes' arrest in Florida and his extradition to Orange County here.

Kocontes is next due in court May 29.

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