A Benicia woman who was found dead in February in the home she shared with her boyfriend was strangled, a police lieutenant said this afternoon.Benicia police Lt. Mike Daley said an autopsy determined 26-year-old Katherine Gillihan died of asphyxia due to manual strangulation from a sleeper hold. Police had previously not disclosed a cause of death.
The hold, which is a type of chokehold that compresses one or both carotid arteries, typically involves wrapping an arm around someone’s neck from behind and using the other arm or hand to tighten the hold, Daley said. Gillihan’s boyfriend Adam Wade Disa, 28, has been charged with her murder. His preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday has been continued until May 31.
Disa has been charged under California’s three strikes law, and he is being held without bail in Solano County Jail on a parole hold, Daley said. He faces 25 years to life in prison, Daley said.Disa admitted having a confrontation with Gillihan two days before her body was found on Feb. 11, Daley said.”Based upon our continuing investigation, it appears as though a physical confrontation initiated by Disa led to the death of Katherine Gillihan early Wednesday morning, Feb. 9,” Daley wrote in an email after the slaying.
Police said no weapon was used in the murder.The Benicia dispatch center received a report at 2:15 p.m. Feb. 11 about a woman having a medical problem at that residence, police said.Gillihan’s friend who had not heard from her in a while and went to the home to check on her made the call to police, Daley said.Benicia Fire Department personnel found Gillihan dead in a bedroom of a residence in the 800 block of Military East.
The Solano County coroner’s office officially pronounced her dead at 2:25 p.m.Disa was not home at the time, police said.When police learned Disa was paroled in 2008 for a 2004 Santa Clara County felony assault conviction, they asked the North Bay California Parole Apprehension Team to help find him, Daley said.Disa was located at about 10:10 p.m. Feb. 11 in a Taco Bell parking lot at 700 Military West in Benicia and was taken into custody for a parole violation, Daley said.
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