A Miami-Dade judge will decide Friday whether to release on bail a Lighthouse Point man accused of murdering his ex-wife and dumping her body at sea off in 1994.
The 56-year old accused man, who is in custody, was indicted for first-degree murder last month for the killing of his ex-wife. Her body was never found.
Friday’s Arthur Hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom, is to determine whether the accused can be released on bond before trial.
At an Arthur Hearing, the prosecution must prove their case to the court by a standard of "proof evident, presumption great," which is a higher burden of proof than "beyond a reasonable doubt."
The accused has long been a suspect in his disappearance of his ex-wife, who vanished on Aug. 28, 1994. Just days before she went missing, the deceased had won custody of her 5-year-old son.
The night she disappeared, investigators believe, she had gone to meet the accused, who claimed he wanted her to pick up a child support check.
About an hour later, a witness told detectives, a man was seen parking the woman’s 1989 Mercury next to a field on Northeast 26th Avenue in Northeast Miami-Dade. He hopped into a black sports-utility vehicle — similar to one owned by the accused — and the vehicle screeched off.
Police later found the deceased's Mercury, the right front tire cut as though it had been stabbed with a knife.
That night, U.S. Customs officers allegedly spotted the accused and a friend racing out on the accused's boat. The officers followed, lights out, before catching up and surprising the men with their spotlights.
The officers saw the men heaving something over the side of the boat. The accused's boat allegedly sped off, leading the agents on a chase for one mile. Agents reported finding light-gauge rope and two cement blocks on the accused's vessel.
The two men were detained, and ultimately were charged with illegal dumping at sea. Law enforcement seized the boat, but could never find the deceased's body.
If the judge does not find proof evident, presumption great, she will then determine the pretrial release conditions.