trip. He said his wife must have been thrown overboard by a wave. Her
body is never found.
October 1999: Bechler is charged with his wife's murder, more than two
years after she disappeared, after police record conversations between
him and his girlfriend, Tina New. Prosecutors say he was seeking a life
insurance policy in his wife's name. Bechler pleads not guilty.
March 2000: Prosecutors file a 98-page transcript detailing the taped
conversation, in which Bechler tells his girlfriend: "I felt like I was
backed in a corner, like she was going to steal the kids away, and I'd
never see them again. I mean, she was just super-controlling of the
August 2000: New files a $10-million civil lawsuit against Newport
Beach resident and former NBA star Dennis Rodman alleging he sexually
assaulted her in his home. No criminal charges are filed.
Fall 2000: Bechler's trial is repeatedly delayed
Dec. 5, 2000: Judge rules that the taped conversation between Bechler
and New may be introduced as evidence.
Dec. 7, 2000: Bechler's trial begins.
Dec. 11, 2000: New takes the stand as the trial's star witness for the
beginning of several days of testimony. While she relates how Bechler
told her he killed his wife, defense attorney John Barnett calls into
question her belief that she is psychic.
Dec. 14, 2000: Bechler's best man testifies that Bechler had told him
he was thinking about "taking [Pegye] out to sea and dumping her in the
Jan. 3, 2001: After a two-week recess, the trial resumes with the jury
seeing a videotape of a sobbing Bechler talking about his wife's
disappearance a day after the incident.
Jan. 17, 2001: Barnett asks that the case be dismissed because where
it happened -- off the coast of Newport Beach -- is not within
Jan. 18, 2001: Bechler takes the stand after the judge refuses to
throw out the case. He describes his story that a wave must have thrown
his wife into the ocean while he was being pulled behind their rented
speedboat on a bodyboard. He also said he lied to New about killing his
wife to impress her.
Jan. 23, 2001: Closing arguments begin in the trial.
Jan. 24, 2001: Jury deliberations begin.
Feb. 1, 2001: Jury convicts Bechler of first-degree murder.