Update, May 5, 2014: Prosecutors on Monday dismissed a murder charge against a five-time convicted felon who was accused of beating his aunt to death in East Oakland last November, stating that tests showed that she died from a heart attack, not from his attack on her. Christian Hall, 45, was charged with murder after he admitted to Oakland police that he slapped and pushed his aunt, 59-year-old Melinda Thomas.

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OAKLAND -- A man has been charged with murder in the suspected beating death of his 59-year-old aunt, an attack that was captured by a surveillance camera, authorities said Tuesday.

Christian L. Hall, 44, of Oakland, is charged in the death of Melinda Thomas, who died less than an hour after she was found unconscious with trauma to her body about 6 p.m. Nov. 22 in the 1900 block of 26th Avenue in East Oakland.

Police are investigating the death as a homicide, even though the coroner's office has not yet made a final ruling on Thomas' cause of death.

Officer Jason Andersen said police don't have a confirmed motive for the attack on Thomas, an Oakland resident. He said there were no documented problems in the past between the two.

According to court documents, Hall admitted pushing and slapping Thomas but "was just playing with her as he always did" and that "he did not intentionally mean" to kill her.


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At first, police had no idea what led to Thomas' death.

But according to court documents, a tipster told police the next day that Thomas was beaten by Hall. In a subsequent canvass of the area, police found witnesses to the attack as well as surveillance video from a building camera.

Hall was arrested Nov. 28 in San Leandro after crashing his car near Grand and Kenyon avenues trying to elude police. He is being held at Santa Rita Jail without bail.