Former San Diego man pleads not guilty in murder of Japanese wife

EL CAJON, Calif. — Former San Diego man Anthony Simoneau, who was charged earlier in September with the 2007 murder of his Japanese wife Fumiko Ogawa, pleaded not guilty on Sept. 29 in San Diego Superior Court.

Simoneau, 46, was extradited from Hawai‘i last Sept. 25 after he was arrested by Honolulu police Sept. 4 on a warrant.

“The goal is justice, of course, for Fumiko and so we weren’t going to rush it in order to make sure that by the time we filed it we had a strong case,” said San Diego Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals following the arraignment at the El Cajon courthouse.

Simoneau’s bail was set at $5 million. He has been provided with a court-appointed attorney and is due back in court next Wednesday to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

Simoneau faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Mechals acknowledged that most murder cases are built largely on circumstantial evidence, including this one, but said “…that is not unusual and the circumstantial evidence and all the other evidence, we believe, proves that Mr. Simoneau is guilty, and that’s our intention.”

Ogawa’s body was found in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near the Bow Willow Campground in eastern San Diego County on January 20, 2007, but was not identified until a DNA match in 2011.

Ogawa, then 41, was last seen near the Point Loma home she shared with Simoneau on or around January 4, 2007, according to the San Diego DA’s Office. The couple had married in 1996.

A 2011 San Diego police affidavit filed in support of a search warrant for a life insurance policy taken out on Ogawa concluded, “The circumstances of Fumiko Simoneau’s death suggest Anthony Simoneau killed her and moved on with his life.”

When Ogawa’s body was identified, Simoneau was already living in Honolulu.

Around June 2011, he was arrested and charged in Honolulu with felony theft for stealing luggage from a store at Ala Moana Shopping Center. He pled guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation.

This past August, a Hawai‘i judge deferred Simoneau’s probation for three years and set aside his guilty plea.

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