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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Christopher Michael McNatt Will Serve 36 Years to Life for 2nd Degree Murder with Personal Use of Deadly Weapon

Santa Rosa, CA  –  March 1, 2017  –  District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that Christopher Michael McNatt, 42, of Sonoma, was sentenced to 36 years to life, to be served in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, for brutally murdering Ronald Sauvageau on March 20, 2015. The sentence was pronounced this afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court by the Honorable Peter Ottenweller. 

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This prison commitment appropriately punishes this violent offender for an act so horrific it defies comprehension.  Without provocation, Mr. McNatt took a hammer and beat Mr. Sauvageau to death with it, forced the victim’s body into a barrel, and then put the barrel containing the victim’s dead body on public display in front of Sonoma City Hall. It is our hope that this sentence will bring a measure of closure to the courageous family members of Mr. Sauvageau, and it affirms our commitment to the safety of our community.”

On March 20, 2015, without provocation, Mr. McNatt murdered Mr. Sauvageau, a total stranger to him, within minutes of encountering him for the first time in his life, by beating him to death with a hammer, because he felt offended that the victim ignored his attempts at conversation. Mr. McNatt then wrapped metal chains around the legs of Mr. Sauvageau and dragged his dead body inside a home, stuffed the body into a 55 gallon barrel, and put the barrel containing Mr. Sauvageau’s dead body on public display on the doorstep in front of Sonoma City Hall. 

At his trial, jurors deliberated for approximately two hours before returning a verdict of guilty on 2nd Degree Murder. McNatt further sustained Prior Strike and Serious Felony Conviction enhancements.

Deputy District Attorney Jamie Kandel prosecuted this case. He was assisted by Deputy District Attorney Jane Murray and District Attorney Investigator Denise Urton. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office investigated the murder, and Detective Joseph Horsman led the investigation.


Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
Contact us by Phone
600 Administration Drive
Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273