Santa Rosa man faces open murder charge in death of Tahoe man |

Santa Rosa man faces open murder charge in death of Tahoe man

Joseph John Personeni
Courtesy Washoe County Jail |

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected from an earlier version to indicate Mr. Personeni was arrested Thursday, Aug. 21.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Authorities arrested a Santa Rosa, Calif., man Thursday on suspicion of murder in the December death of Lake Tahoe resident Christopher Elliot.

Joseph John Personeni, 20, turned himself into the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Jail in Reno on Thursday, said Public Information Officer Bob Harmon.

Deputies found the body of Elliott, 46, on his front porch at about 4 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at the 900 block of Northwood Boulevard.

“Elliott and Personeni were known to each other and … an argument between the two escalated into a physical confrontation,” the sheriff’s office said in a Friday news release.

The cause of death was determined to be multiple blunt force trauma, Harmon said.

Personeni had been cooperating with the investigation for the past several weeks, Harmon said. Once the cause of death was determined and a warrant issued, Personeni drove up from Santa Rosa to turn himself in.

Personeni faces a charge of open murder. His bail was set at $250,000, and he was released from jail Thursday evening.

His case will be handled through the Incline Village Justice Court, where is scheduled to appear on Sept. 30.

“We know that the Incline Village community has had a great deal of interest in this case and are pleased to report that an arrest has been made and the case can now proceed through the justice system,” WCSO Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek said in a statement.

Detectives continue to gather evidence in this case. Anyone with information can contact the WCSO Detective Division at 775-328-3320 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.

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