Christopher Anthony Lavis is charged with killing Constance Elizabeth LaSalle, 63, in her home in the 300 block of Stony Point Road in Santa Rosa. Her body was found wrapped under blankets on Sept. 27.
The Sonoma County District Attorney's Office also charged Lavis with an enhancement alleging personal use of a weapon and a special circumstance alleging the murder was intentional and involved the infliction of torture.
Deputy District Attorney Traci Carrillo said the torture enhancement subjects Lavis to the death penalty. She said two weapons were used in the stabbing murder - a large dagger she referred to as a Roman knife, and kitchen shears.
Lavis did not enter a plea this morning and will return to court Oct. 22.
He was arrested Oct. 10 after he was detained in San Francisco for not paying for a meal at a restaurant in the 100 block of Jefferson Street.
San Francisco police confirmed his identity and arrested him on a no-bail warrant for murder obtained by Santa Rosa police.
Lavis is being held in the Sonoma County jail.