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A 34-year-old Toledo man calmly admitted to a judge Friday that he fatally stabbed his mother while she sat at a kitchen table in their South Toledo home.
Anthony Bertolina of 3158 Winston Blvd. pleaded guilty to aggravated murder for the Dec. 8 slaying of Mary Bertolina, 58. He was scheduled to go on trial Monday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
The plea agreement recommends that Judge Ruth Ann Franks sentence Bertolina to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.
Bertolina was arrested Dec. 9 outside the home after police arrived to check on his mother’s safety because she had failed to show up at The Blade, where she was a regional circulation manager.
In court, he told Judge Franks he attacked his mother after retrieving a knife he kept in a wood chest in an upstairs bedroom. He said he held the knife and “thought for a while” before he approached the victim from behind in the kitchen.
“She was at the kitchen table using her computer,” he said. “I was at the opposite end of the kitchen and stood there for a few minutes, and then I walked up behind her and stabbed her in the back of the neck.”
Bertolina said he then plunged the weapon into her chest.
Michael Loisel, an assistant county prosecutor, said Ms. Bertolina was stabbed one more time in the chest and received additional wounds on her arms as she tried to fight off her son’s attacks.
When asked by Judge Franks the motivation for the crime, Bertolina explained that he got hooked on heroin 18 months earlier, an addiction that cost him his home and his job as a paralegal for a Bowling Green lawyer.
He said he moved in with his mother several months later and began stealing from her, and borrowed or took money from other relatives and friends to support his habit.
“Because of my choices, I kept turning back to drugs to escape reality,” he said. “Before turning 33, I had never committed a crime or did illicit drugs.”
Mr. Loisel said the plea was offered to the defendant with the approval of the victim’s family and the police detective who investigated the crime.
Jeff Cole, the Blade’s circulation manager and Ms. Bertolina’s supervisor at the newspaper, was in the courtroom for her son’s plea.
“Whenever a crime like this happens, you are always surprised. How a son can murder his mother just goes beyond my comprehension,” he said after the hearing.
Bertolina is scheduled to be sentenced June 9.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.