Till death did they part

February 02, 2001

1990: Pegye Marshal and Eric Bechler are introduced.

1992: The couple is married in Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany.

1996: The Bechlers decide to sell Pegye's physical therapy business to

a Costa Mesa corporation. They learn they won't receive the agreed amount

in their contract.

July 1997: The Bechlers celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary with

a boating trip off the Newport coast. Only Eric Bechler returns from the


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

California's jurisdiction.

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.

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