By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A retired Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective has been arrested in Hawaii, accused of murdering his wife nearly six years after he blamed her death on an accidental fall, authorities said on Tuesday.
Daniel DeJarnette, 59, was taken into custody at his home on Hawaii's Big Island on Monday, Hawaii police Lieutenant Greg Esteban said. He was indicted earlier in the day on a charge of second-degree murder by a grand jury, and pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.
Esteban said DeJarnette's wife Yu was found near the couple's home in November 2006 suffering from blunt force trauma, and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
He said DeJarnette, who moved to Ka'u, Hawaii following his retirement, was taken into custody at the time but released without charges after telling investigators his wife had been injured in an accidental fall at the home.
"Investigators had some suspicions and they did recover evidence that was inconsistent" with DeJarnette's explanation, Esteban said.
He declined to say what additional evidence or investigation led to the indictment by a Hawaii County grand jury, but said the case was never formally closed by Hawaii police detectives.
Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Linda Walton said additional DNA testing was conducted earlier this year but said she could not elaborate on the evidence against DeJarnette.
DeJarnette was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail, and a judge set a trial date in the case for October 30. DeJarnette faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
A public defender who represented him at the brief hearing said she had no information on the facts of the case. A Los Angeles police spokesman said department officials expected to issue a statement on the case later on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Cynthia Johnston and Todd Eastham)