In May 2006, a Safety Harbor resident and his ex-wife vacationed on a Mediterranean cruise. They took an excursion together to Messina, Italy on May 25th. Two days later, the ex-wife’s body was found off the coast of Paola. The ex-husband has since remarried. The man, 55 years old, now faces a criminal charge of murder for financial gain.
The accused and the deceased were married from 1995 to 2001. Following their divorce, reports indicate they lived together intermittently up to the time of the cruise. After the incident, the accused told detectives that his companion was suicidal. The man was the last person to see his ex-wife alive. Police allege that he strangled his companion and threw her body overboard.
The FBI alleges that the accused and his new wife transferred sums that total around $1 million from multiple accounts into a joint bank account in 2008. The charges were brought in California, where the accused previously worked as an attorney. He is currently being held in Florida while he awaits extradition to California to face the charges.
If convicted, the accused faces a minimum sentence of life imprisonment, and he will not be eligible for parole. California law allows the death penalty in cases of first-degree murder, which includes murder committed for financial gain. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to navigate the court system to help ensure that a person’s constitutional rights are protected throughout the process. Any person charged with or accused of murder may benefit from speaking with a lawyer about the facts of the case.
Source: My Fox Tampa Bay, “Safety Harbor man charged in cruise ship death of ex-wife,” Feb. 16, 2013
Source: Cal. Pen. Code, Sections 190 and 190.2