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Lewis Bennett to change 'not guilty' plea in wife's disappearance at sea

FBI charges Lewis Bennett with second degree murder in the death of his wife, lost at sea on Mother's Day in 2017. (WPEC)

Lewis Bennett is slated to appear in court to change his "not guilty" plea in the 2017 murder of his wife at sea, according to federal documents.

Bennett was charged with second-degree murder in February for killing 41-year-old Isabella Hellmann of Delray Beach. He also had plead guilty last November to stealing thousands of dollars worth of silver and gold coins.

Prosecutors delayed his trial from April 2 to no earlier than February 2019, according to court documents.

The hearing is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 5 in Miami at 3 p.m.

Hellmann was last seen the night of Mother's Day in 2017 on a 40-foot Catamaran with Bennett about 26 nautical miles west of Cay Sal, Bahamas on Mother's Day, according to court documents. After the boat hit an unknown object, Bennett said he went below deck to search for his wife. When he didn't see her and noticed the boat taking on water, he set off an emergency alert, which was received by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard crews and a Cuban Search and Rescue patrol craft conducted an extensive search that spanned several days and over 4,980 nautical miles, court documents said. However, Hellman's body was never found.

Bennett tried to have Hellman pronounced legally dead, but it was postponed by a judge who wanted the U.S. Coast Guard to weigh in first.

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