Eugene Nason

Eugene Nason has been charged with Murder in the 2nd Degree in the death of his girlfriend, Sonya Ann Smith, 43, on or about July 24, 2013. Itasca County Sheriff’s deputies shortly before 9 a.m. responded to a 9-1-1 report of a deceased female at a home on the 500 block of 5th Street SE in Deer River. Deputies noted a strong smell of gas coming from the oven, observed broken glass and blood smears on the couch and floor of the living room. The victim was found in the bathtub of overflowing water with lacerations and bruising on her face and neck.

Deputies spoke with neighbors regarding the incident. One neighbor stated she woke up about 4 a.m. and heard what sounded like a kid crying or screaming for about 10 seconds. Her husband went outside to find out what happened, but did not hear anything further and went back into the residence. The husband stated he heard female screams that woke them up and he called law enforcement. Records indicate he called the sheriff's office at 4:24 a.m. A third neighbor also heard screams about 4 a.m. that lasted for about a minute. He went outside, found everything was quiet, and went back inside.

According to a complaint filed in the 9th District Court there is probable cause to believe that Nason, age 50, of 508 5th Street South, Deer River, Mn. caused the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation.

He was located at his place of employment by officers of the Itasca County Sheriff's Office and the Deer River Police Department. Nason stated that he lives with his wife, Sonya Ann Smith, at their residence in Deer River. Nason stated that he left home at 5:30 a.m. to get to work at 8:00 a.m. Nason stated that he gets to work by walking and hitchhiking. Nason stated that he got home from work about 4 p.m. and got a ride to the liquor store to get a bottle of vodka. He stated his wife was home. Nason stated he left because she was high from taking pills and she was going to leave him because all he did was sleep. They went to his sister's house but he left for home, then she came home and he went back at about 7 p.m. and spent the night. Nason stated that he had no physical contact with Smith and had not seen her since about 7 p.m. He stayed at his sister's house, drank the vodka, and went to work at about 7 a.m.

Nason stated that he had not changed any clothes since coming home from work the previous evening, but Deputies reviewed the surveillence video from the Bottle Shop and noticed he was wearing a short-sleeved plaid shirt. They noted a shirt that matched the description of the one in the video was found in the bathroom near the bathtub. Deputies noted that he was wearing a dark t-shirt when they contacted him at work.

Deputies spoke to an employee of a cafe in Deer River who stated that Nason came into the restaurant at about 7 a.m. and spent about 20 minutes in the bathroom. He left the restaurant looking like he had taken a shower in the bathroom.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate that Sonya Ann Smith died as a result of the following injuries: ruptured liver and spleen, broken ribs and cerebral hemorrhaging. The medical examiner determined that the cause of the death was multiple traumatic injuries due to assault and the manner of death was homicide.

Nason's record includes several convictions including assault, controlled substance crimes, and disorderly conduct, and he was currently under supervised probation for Driving After Cancellation. Records indicate he has violated his probation on multiple occasions regarding these offenses.

The court ordered Nason held without bail on a pending probation violation.
On the new charge of Murder in the 2nd Degree, the court ordered that Nason be held in jail without bail. Nason's next court appearance is set for September 9, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.

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