The 91-year-old grandfather accused of murdering his wife has dementia and registered a blood-alcohol limit about four times the legal limit at the time of the killing, a court has heard.
Police have charged Frank Dimasi with the murder of his wife Maria Dimasi, 85, at their home of 60 years in Thornton St, Findon, in Adelaide’s west about 11.20pm on Saturday.
Mr Dimasi’s case appeared for the first time at Port Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday, where it was heard Mr Dimasi had dialled Triple 0 after the alleged murder and said he had killed his wife.
South Australian Police officers arrived on scene within six minutes and found Mr Dimasi sitting in the kitchen with blood on his clothing, arms and hands, the court heard.
Officers searched the house and found Mrs Dimasi with significant wounds to her head and upper body.
While speaking to Mr Dimasi, the court heard the elderly man drifted in and out of consciousness and a blood sample taken from him later at the hospital revealed a blood-alcohol reading of 0.36.
The prosecution told the court they will allege Mr Dimasi said he was “sorry” he killed his wife and that she “deserved it”.
Mr Dimasi was charged from his hospital bed on Monday, where he remains under police guard.
When his matter was heard before Magistrate Jayanthi Pandya later that day, it was revealed Mr Dimasi has been diagnosed with dementia.
Mr Dimasi’s defence lawyer told the court he was unconscious and not in a fit state to provide instructions to her.
She requested an adjournment to give her client more time to recover.
Defence and prosecution also asked for an adjournment to secure a psychiatric report.
The court heard Mr Dimasi does not have any prior convictions.
Magistrate Pandya adjourned the matter to Friday morning at 10am.
The Dimasi family owns the community meal service Nonna’s Cucina. They taught people how to cook and made meals for those in need.
Their grandson visited the couple’s home on Sunday afternoon.
He buried his face in his hands as he cried and declined to speak to media.
Premier Peter Malinauskas paid tribute to Mrs Dimasi during a press conference on Sunday, saying she was a “good person who has lost their life in tragic circumstances”.
“On a personal level, Maria Dimasi was a very significant contributor to our state, particularly in the western suburbs Italian community,” he said.
“Nonna’s Cucina, which will be very well known to a lot of South Australians, did amazing work delivering meals to people that are vulnerable, particularly the elderly.”
More broadly, South Australian government is under intense pressure to authorise a royal commission into the state’s domestic violence problem.
Ms Dimasi is the 61st person killed in an alleged domestic violence incident in 2023.