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Board denies medical parole for 72-year-old man who killed wife by strangulation

The California Board of Parole denied medical parole last week for a Santa Rosa man who is serving 16 years to life in prison for strangling his wife in 2013.

Dean Howard Eliason Jr., 72, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder during his 2015 trial in Sonoma County Superior Court. He strangled his wife of 40 years, Virginia Mary Caetano, 64, with an electric cord at their Rincon Valley home on July 24, 2013.

Eliason called 911 to report he killed his wife because she was making fun of him and he went into a rage. A forensic pathologist testified at his trial that it took approximately 10 minutes for Caetano to die, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office said.

Defense attorney Kristine Burk argued Eliason suffered from acute and debilitating psychotic depression and he was overwhelmed by his wife’s drug dependence.

When a psychiatrist scheduled to testify for the defense failed to appear in court, Burk’s motion for a mistrial was denied and Eliason pleaded guilty.

Eliason did not attend his medical parole hearing at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, but he was represented by an attorney, prosecutors said.

The Board of Parole ruled Eliason did not meet the criteria for medical parole that is available for an inmate only under a very limited set of circumstances.

The Board of Parole found Eliason was able to perform the activities of basic daily living and he was not medically incapacitated. The Board determined Eliason posed an unreasonable risk of harm to the community if he were to be released, according to the district attorney’s office.

Eliason is eligible for another parole hearing in 2027, prosecutors said.

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