A Santa Rosa man was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison this morning for the stabbing murder of his mother in their apartment last year.Christopher Lavis, 43, pleaded guilty in October before the start of his trial to the Sept. 11, 2008, murder. In return for his guilty plea, the prosecution agreed to drop an enhancement alleging the intentional infliction of torture that subjected him to the death penalty. Constance LaSalle was stabbed or sliced 45 times with kitchen shears and a Roman gladius knife, according to preliminary hearing testimony.Deputy District Attorney Traci Carrillo contended at the preliminary hearing that some of those slicing and stab wounds were superficial, suggesting Lavis applied a “controlled use of force” to torture his mother.Deputy Public Defender Amy Chapman cited Lavis’ admission to police that he used the kitchen knife to inflict most of the wounds but used the larger Roman knife to deliver at least one lethal wound because he did not want his mother to suffer. LaSalle wanted Lavis to move out of her Stony Point Road condominium, according to testimony at the hearing. Lavis stayed in the condo for 10 days after the murder, ordering take out pizza three times. He was arrested in San Francisco on Oct. 10, 2008, after being detained for not paying for a meal at a restaurant.Santa Rosa police found LaSalle’s body in the condo on Sept. 27.
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