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Santa Rosa Man Who Allegedly Strangled Wife Charged With First Degree Murder

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SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A Santa Rosa man was charged in Sonoma County Superior Court Friday afternoon with first-degree murder and willful infliction of corporal injury on the woman he was living with for allegedly killing his wife in an east Santa Rosa trailer park.

Dean Howard Eliason Jr., 65, allegedly strangled 64-year-old Virginia Mary Caetano in their home at 67 Cardinal Way on Wednesday.

Eliason also is charged with the use of a weapon and having a prior conviction for spousal battery.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Diana Gomez said Caetano was strangled to death with a radio cord. An autopsy was under way this afternoon, Gomez said.

Eliason did not enter pleas and is scheduled to appear in court Monday morning. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kristine Burk, said Eliason has mental health issues and is being held under no bail in the mental health unit at the Sonoma County jail.

Eliason called Santa Rosa police around 12:18 p.m. Wednesday and said he had just killed his wife, Sgt. David Linscomb said.

Police found Caetano with a ligature around her neck dead on the living room floor of the double-wide trailer in Rincon Valley Mobile Estates of state Highway 12 near Mission Boulevard, Linscomb said.

Eliason, who is known as “Sonny”, was in front of the home when police arrived.

According to Sonoma County Superior Court records, Eliason pleaded no contest on July 14, 2008, to a misdemeanor spousal battery that occurred on April 15, 2008.

A misdemeanor count of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse was dismissed, and Eliason was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to complete a 52-week batterers’ program.

Neither Burk nor Gomez would say who the victim was in that case.

Caetano was convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving in 2002 and of misdemeanor DUI in 2007.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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