Bechler murder trial faces delays

November 13, 2000

Deepa Bharath

The trial of Eric Bechler, the 33-year-old man charged with murdering

his wife on a boat off the coast of Newport Beach in 1997, could be put

off for at least two weeks, his attorney John Barnett said Friday.

Bechler's trial was scheduled to begin today. But Barnett said the

prosecution has more information on the case that it still needs to



Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Debora Lloyd, who is prosecuting the

case, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Bechler is suspected of killing his 38-year-old wife, Pegye Bechler,

and throwing her body overboard while they were celebrating their fifth

wedding anniversary on a boating trip in July 1997.

Bechler has contended that he was being towed on a bodyboard by a

rented boat piloted by his wife, a triathlete and an expert swimmer. He

has said a large wave knocked him off the board into the water and that,

when he surfaced, his wife had disappeared.

Prosecutors allege that Bechler staged the accident to collect a

multimillion-dollar life insurance policy. Pegye Bechler's body was never


Eric Bechler was arrested in October 1999, after a two-year

investigation. Authorities arranged for his girlfriend, actress Tina New,

to wear a recording device and captured a conversation about the murder.

He has since been held without bail in Orange County Jail.

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