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Neighbor charged with killing 94-year-old woman with hammer

May 4, 2012 |  3:00 pm

A Ramona man was charged Friday with using a hammer to kill a 94-year-old woman who lived in the same mobile home park as he did in northern San Diego County.

Gary Allen Thomas, 63, was charged in the death of Mary Jean Eskridge, a retired dancer who performed with the big bands of the 1940s and then opened a dance studio in Spring Valley, east of San Diego. She was found dead in her home Tuesday.

Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis said her office "is very interested in hearing from members of the public who may know more about this horrific crime or the defendant."

No alleged motive was asserted in court documents charging Thomas with first-degree murder.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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