Murder Charged Filed in Deer River Death

Posted at: 07/30/2013 4:24 PM
Updated at: 07/30/2013 4:41 PM
By: Alan Hoglund

A 50-year-old Deer River man was charged with murder Tuesday for allegedly killing his girlfriend.

According to the Itasca County Attorney's Office, Eugene Nason is charged with one count of second degree murder. Nason is accused of killing his girlfriend during an incident at their residence on the 500 block of 5th Street Southeast in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 24.

According to the criminal complaint, just before 9 o'clock that morning, authorities got a 911 call from a woman stating she found Sonya Ann Smith, 43, dead in Smith's bathtub. The complaint said the woman turned off the faucet to the bathtub that was overflowing and said Smith had bruising on her face and that there was broken glass at the residence.

When authorities responded to the residence, the complaint says they noted a strong odor of gas coming from the oven, found broken glass on the furniture as well as blood stains and smears on the couch and the floor. They also found blood smears on the wall of the shower/tub area, the complaint says.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate Smith died from a ruptured liver and spleen, broken ribs and cerebral hemorrhaging, according to the complaint. It says the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries due to assault and that the manner of death was homicide.

The complaint says when deputies spoke with neighbors, a female stated that she woke up around 4 a.m. and heard what "sounded like a kid crying or screaming for about 10 to 15 seconds."

The document says the female's husband stated that he heard female screams and called law enforcement. Records indicate a call came in to the sheriff's office at 4:24 a.m., according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, Nason has been convicted of four felonies, a gross misdemeanor and a misdemeanor since 1995.

Prosecutors say Nason will be held in jail without bail. His next court appearance is set for September 9.