HANFORD – A Riverdale man who admitted killing his father and burning the body in a shed used to grow marijuana was sentenced 15 years to life in prison, a deputy district attorney said.
Nathaniel Caetano, 30, was sentenced for killing his father, Leonard Caetano, in 2009 after an argument. Caetano was on trial in May for the crime when he halted the proceedings to plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, said Chief Deputy District Attorney James Jahn.
Caetano will be taken to California State Prison Wasco until the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation determines where he will serve the rest of his sentence.
Caetano was in a dispute with his father over a hydroponic pot grow in a shed behind the family home. The elder Caetano wanted the plants removed, but the younger man refused, saying he had a permit to grow the plants.
One neighbor testified witnessing the father and son arguing just days before the murder.
On Nov. 18, 2009, a neighbor saw smoke billowing from the shed behind the Caetano home. He ran to the backyard and grabbed a garden hose to put out the flames engulfing the small building.
When firefighters arrived they found the younger Caetano covered in ashes and soot, dragging the marijuana plants out of the building. As firefighters quickly put out the flames, they discovered a 5-by-5 foot hole dug in the floor where they found what appeared to be decapitated human remains.
Caetano said he was cooking a goat in the shed, but tests quickly confirmed the remains were human.
Just hours after the fire, however, Caetano’s father was reported missing. A DNA test later confirmed the remains belonged to Leonard Caetano.