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SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A California judge has refused to dismiss a murder charge against a man accused of strangling his ex-wife and tossing her overboard during a Mediterranean cruise.

The Orange County judge ruled Monday that California has the right to proceed against 55-year-old Lonnie Kocontes. His attorneys say they'll appeal.

Kocontes and Micki Kanesaki were divorced but lived together on and off in Mission Viejo, Calif. 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 Kaneski's bank accounts.

Kocontes, a Florida resident, was arrested in February. He has pleaded not guilty to killing his ex-wife for financial gain.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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