A man who was working as a tour guide in Hawaii when he was arrested for the death of his wife in the Anza-Borrego Desert more than eight years ago was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in state prison.
Anthony Edward Simoneau, 46, pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter. He had faced a murder charge that could have brought him 25 years to life.
The body of Fumiko Ogawa Simoneau, 41, was found Jan. 20, 2007, near the Bow Willow Campground, but was not identified until June 2011, based on DNA evidence.
“We never did have a cause of death,” because of the condition of the body when it was found, Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said.
The defendant was arrested last year in Hawaii and brought to San Diego.
Simoneau filed for divorce in 2002, but withdrew the court papers when his wife got an inheritance from relatives in Japan, according to published reports. Her family lost contact with her in early January 2007, and he left San Diego later that year.
The defendant previously denied having anything to do with his wife’s death, saying he assumed she had gone to Japan, Mechals said.
Bank account records show Simoneau may have killed his wife for financial reasons, but the motive remains unclear, according to the prosecutor.
Mechals said Fumiko Simoneau’s family in Japan was interested in getting the case resolved so her body could be returned to them.
Judge Daniel Goldstein said he agtreed with the plea agreement and said the sentence should not evoke any sympathy for the defendant.
“You killed someone and you should be ashamed of that,” Goldstein told Simoneau.
— City News Service
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