Toledo murder victim was stabbed 3 times

Charge shocks suspect’s ex-employer

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    Mary Bertolina

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  • Mary Bertolina
    Mary Bertolina

    South Toledo resident Mary Bertolina was stabbed three times — first in the back of the neck, then twice in the chest, a Lucas County deputy coroner said Wednesday.

    Anthony Bertolina
    Anthony Bertolina

    The 56-year-old longtime Blade employee was found on her bedroom floor Monday afternoon, covered with a comforter, with a knife protruding from her chest.

    Accused in the death is Anthony Bertolina, 34, Ms. Bertolina’s only child. He is charged with murder and remains in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

    Police said they do not know what motivated the slaying.

    “She tried to put up a fight,” said Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, Lucas County deputy coroner, who performed the autopsy. She cited “lots and lots” of defense wounds on Ms. Bertolina’s hands.

    Mr. Bertolina lived with his mother, police said. He moved there after leaving his job as a paralegal at Geer Law Office in Bowling Green more than a year ago, said Norman Geer, who employed Mr. Bertolina for “a couple of years.”

    “He was really close with his mom,” Mr. Geer said. “That’s what’s so shocking and surprising and hard to believe about this.”

    Mr. Geer said Mr. Bertolina was “very skilled and very professional when he came to work.”

    “It’s just so unbelievable. There was just no clue whatsoever that he’d be capable of what he’s accused of doing,” Mr. Geer said. “I don’t know what happened since the last time I saw him. The Anthony I knew wouldn’t have done this. He loved his mom.”

    Recently, Mr. Bertolina has had several run-ins with the law.

    Last December, he was found guilty in Toledo Municipal Court of breaking and entering — he reportedly told a Toledo police detective he stole two ciboriums from St. Patrick’s of Heatherdowns Church. He was ordered to pay restitution. A ciborium is a covered cup that holds the communion wafers used in Catholic masses.

    He has another pending case in Toledo for petty theft — he’s accused of cashing three checks, for a total of $261.91, while reportedly knowing there was not sufficient money in the account to cover the withdrawals.

    He has a case pending in Wood County Common Pleas Court, where he is charged with trespass into a habitation. He pleaded not guilty in November and was scheduled for a Feb. 4 hearing.