Anthony Edward Simoneau, 46, said nothing before El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein imposed the term for killing Fumiko Ogawa Simoneau, 41, whose skeletal remains were finally identified in 2011 with familial DNA from her parents in Japan.
Deputy District Attorney Michelle Ialeggio read letters from the victim’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law that were translated from Japanese. Ialeggio said the grieving family did not want to fly to San Diego from Japan to attend the sentencing.
“It is unthinkable that your sentence is 11 years,” wrote her parents, Tomoyoshi Ogama and Chico Ogama. “You are a murderer.”
“She trusted you…you discarded her in a lonely desert,” wrote sister-in-law Kaoru Ogawa.
Fumiko Simoneau was last seen alive on Jan. 2, 2007, at the Point Loma home. Anthony Simoneau told her parents and others she had left him and he had not heard from her since. The parents hired a private investigator and later filed a missing person report, court records say.
Skeletal remains were found in 2007 in the Anza-Borrego desert. A shirt she had worn in a video matched the torn bloody T-shirt found in the desert near the remains. No cause of death could be determined from the remains by the medical examiner.
It is possible that Fumiko Simoneau was shot to death because San Diego Police searched the home in Sept. 2011 and found a bullet hole in the ceiling along with a .45 caliber projectile. Anthony Simoneau owned a .45 Sig Sauer pistol at the time, according to court records.
Simoneau remained silent about how he killed his wife and only admitted to it when he pleaded guilty March 12 to manslaughter in a plea agreement for which he would get 11 years.
Simoneau also gave up all rights to his wife’s remains and they will be sent to her family for “a proper burial” in Japan, said Ialeggio. She added that having the remains there “was very important for them” and they were “broken hearted.”
Japanese camera crews were in court as the case generated publicity in Japan following his arrest Sept. 4, 2014 in Honolulu, where he had moved.
The probation report said Simoneau filed for divorce in 2002, but dismissed the divorce after his wife inherited $215,327 from the death of her aunt. An additional $131,871 was deposited to their joint account from the aunt.
Fumiko Simoneau purchased a $500,000 life insurance policy in Jan., 2005 listing her husband as the beneficiary. He renewed the policy after she disappeared, but the report didn’t say if he tried to collect on it.
“You killed somebody. You should be ashamed of that,” said Goldstein to Simoneau.
Goldstein dismissed a murder charge in what he called “a tragic, complicated case.” He said a jury could have convicted—or acquitted Simoneau at trial and said the plea agreement was appropriate.
With the plea, Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said the victim’s family didn’t have to fly here to attend a 1½-month murder trial and the guilty plea assures there is a conviction.
Goldstein fined Simoneau $3,524 and gave him credit for 351 days in jail. The case was in El Cajon because it was the closest courthouse to where the body was found.