US man who dismembered wife dies awaiting trial

LOS ANGELES - A US man who allegedly dismembered his wife of 34 years after killing her has died while in custody awaiting trial, officials said Friday.

Frederick Hengl, 69, died of prostate cancer in a medical unit at the San Diego Central Jail, the county Medical Examiner's Office said.

He was awaiting trial on charges of murder, cruelty to an elder and committing an unlawful act with human remains in connection with the death of his wife Anna Faris.

Police went to the couple's home on November 16 last year after neighbours reported a powerful stench. Inside officers found what they thought was meat cooking on the stove.

They found Hengl at a nearby bar, and realised he was in the process of cutting up his dead wife's body.

Her head was discovered in a bag in the freezer, and there was a makeshift work area in the bathroom, with a saw and boning knife among other instruments.

A sack containing freshly-cut bones was also found.

Neighbors said they had not seen Faris for a month, and had heard what they thought was the sound of a power saw coming from the home.

Faris had advanced Alzheimer's disease when she died aged 73. Hengl's lawyer Debby Kirkwood said her client had lost the will to live after the death of his "bride."

He had quit his job in February last year to take care of her full time, she said.