Santa Rosa Man Will Stand Trial For Allegedly Strangling His Wife to Death

A judge found there is enough evidence to try Dean Howard Eliason Jr., 66, on charges of killing his wife with a radio cord.

By Bay City News

A Santa Rosa man was held over for trial Wednesday morning for allegedly strangling his wife with a radio cord in July.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Dana Simonds found that there is sufficient evidence to try Dean Howard Eliason Jr., 66, on charges of murder and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse.

Eliason, also known as "Sonny," called police around 12:20 p.m. on July 24 to report that he had killed his wife, Virginia Mary Caetano, in their home at 67 Cardinal Way in the Rincon Valley Mobile Estates.

At a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, Santa Rosa police Detective Andrew Riley testified that Eliason told a police dispatcher he suffers from severe depression and killed his wife because she was making fun of him. 

"Don't ask me why I called. We've been married for 40 years," Eliason told the dispatcher during the 911 call, according to Riley.

Police found Caetano on the living room floor of the double-wide trailer in east Santa Rosa. An electrical cord from a radio was wrapped twice around her neck, Riley said.

An autopsy determined that she died of ligature strangulation, Riley said.

Eliason was held to answer to charges of first-degree murder and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, with enhancements alleging use of a dangerous weapon and causing great bodily injury.

He is being held without bail, and will re-enter pleas to the charges on Dec. 16. 

After Eliason first pleaded not guilty to the charges in July, his sister Mary Eliason, 57, of Redding, said her brother and Caetano "had a strained relationship for a long time."

Mary Eliason said her brother suffers from chronic depression but that she "couldn't imagine him being capable of that."  

Eliason pleaded no contest in 2008 to misdemeanor assault and battery on a spouse and was sentenced to three years' probation. His attorney, Kristine Burk, did not argue against holding her client for trial.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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