Two Florida sisters are accused of killing their 85-year-old father in what investigators described as a “perfect murder,” leaving no signs of foul play, until a love triangle unraveled the alleged plot years later.
Linda Roberts, 61, and Mary-Beth Tomaselli, 63, have been charged with first degree murder in the March 2015 death of their father, Anthony Tomaselli, after investigators say they plotted to kill the man because his health was declining and he didn’t want to go into an assisted living facility, according to a statement from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies were called to a home in Palm Harbor, Florida in the early morning hours of March 6, 2015. Roberts and Tomaselli told deputies their father had been asleep on the couch the night before, but when they went to check on him the next morning they discovered he wasn’t breathing, called 911, and tried to perform CPR.
“There were no signs of foul play, no signs of criminal activity, nothing to indicate anything other than Anthony’s death was of natural causes,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Tuesday, according to local station WTVT.
Anthony Tomaselli’s primary care physician confirmed that he had an extensive medical history and agreed to sign the death certificate listing the cause of death as natural causes due to advanced age and medical history.
The two sisters sold their father’s home, splitting the $120,000 profit with their brother, who was not involved in the alleged killing, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Their scheme unraveled after one of the sisters allegedly confessed to “euthanizing” her father to an unidentified man both women had allegedly become romantically involved with.
Mary-Beth Tomaselli had allegedly begun an intimate relationship with the man after meeting him in a bar in August, and he claimed he met her sister some time later, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Roberts called the unidentified man on Feb. 12 and asked him to her home, where she allegedly confessed to killing her father in a conversation the man recorded on his phone.
The man called law enforcement authorities the next day and with his cooperation, deputies were able to obtain other recorded statements from both sisters, the local paper reports.
In the conversations, the women reportedly admitted the killing was “premeditated” and said they had “euthanized” their father because he was going to die in a few months and had not wanted to go into an assisted living facility, the sheriff’s office said.
Initially, the women allegedly tried to killed him by giving him alcohol laced with sleeping pills, but Mary-Beth Tomaselli put too much alcohol in the drink which diluted the pills, the sheriff said, according to the local paper.
The women then reportedly tried to suffocate him with a pillow, but that didn’t work either. Finally, the women allegedly stuffed a rag down his throat, held his arms down, and pinched his nose until he died.
Investigators say Mary-Beth Tomaselli had also given her adult daughter, who was also staying at the home, sleeping pills the same night so that she wouldn’t wake up to discover what the women were doing, according to the Tampa Bay times.
The scheme would have never been discovered if the women hadn’t admitted to the crime, the sheriff said.
“If they hadn’t run their mouth and confessed to this guy that she met in a bar…in some respects, we’d call this the perfect murder because there was no sign of a struggle or foul play,” Gualtieri said, according to WTVT.
Both women are now being held at the Pinellas County Jail.
Neighbors of Anthony Tomaselli described the one-time barber as a nice man.
“He was friendly. He loved kids,” neighbor Robert Kazanecki told WFLA.
Neighbor Carol Gransky told WTVT she was shocked by the allegations.
“I didn’t ever in my wildest dreams think that that happened to Tony,” she said. “A rag in his throat? That’s a horrible way. I hope they rot in hell.”
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