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.
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
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
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.
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.