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Santa Rosa man arrested in Lake Tahoe-area slaying

  • Booking photo for Joseph John Personeni, photo from Washoe County Sheriff's Office

A Santa Rosa man was arrested Thursday in the Lake Tahoe area on suspicion of murder in the death of a man last year in Incline Village, Nev.

Joseph John Personeni, 20, turned himself in to Washoe County sheriff’s detectives just before 5 p.m. and was booked into the county jail on $250,000 bond. Sheriff’s officials said Personeni posted bail and was released just before 10 p.m.

Washoe County sheriff’s officials said Personeni was a suspect in the death of Christopher Elliott of Incline Village, whose body was found on the front porch of his house in the early morning hours of Dec. 22.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma, according to Bob Harmon, the Sheriff’s Office’s public information officer. Elliott, 46, and Personeni knew each other and reportedly got into an argument that became physical, Harmon said.

Personeni, who graduated from Cardinal Newman High School, where he played football, has been cooperating with detectives, Harmon said. According to his Facebook page, Personeni is enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College.

“When the warrant was issued, the suspect came here to turn himself in,” Harmon said.

Elliott’s death was considered suspicious from the time his body was discovered, but it took several months for authorities to determine the cause of death.

Personeni, who could not be reached for comment, lists the Brimm Catering Co. of Incline Village, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, as one of his employers on his Facebook page.

He is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 30 in Incline Village, authorities there said.

You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or elizabeth.cosin@pressdemocrat.com.


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