PALM HARBOR, Florida — A pair of sisters nearly got away with the “perfect murder,” but ended up blowing the lid off their secret when they blabbed about killing their 85-year-old father to a man they both were having an affair with, cops said.
Mary-Beth Tomaselli, 63, and her sister, Linda Roberts, 61, have been charged with first-degree murder for the 2015 slaying of their terminally ill father, Anthony Tomaselli, in his Florida home.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s office says its deputies first investigated the elder Tomaselli’s death after his daughters reported finding him dead early in the morning on March 6, 2015. They told cops that he had fallen asleep on the couch the night before and that he wasn’t breathing when they checked on him in the morning.
At the time, there were no signs of foul play and as Tomaselli had been suffering dementia, heart disease and cancer, investigators ruled that he had died of natural causes.
But in mid-February, detectives received a call from man who was involved in a sexual relationship with both the women, who told them that Linda Roberts had confessed to him that she and her sister had killed their father.
The man, whose name was not released, had made a recording of the confession and then made further recordings of the women discussing their father’s death after he contacted police.
“If they didn’t run their mouth and confess to this guy she met in a bar, they would have gotten away with it,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. ‘It would’ve been the perfect murder.”
The recordings revealed that the women had planned to “euthanize” their father as he only had a few months to live and refused to go into an assisted living facility.
To kill him, the woman had crushed up sleeping pills and mixed them with alcohol, but diluted the mixture too much, so he didn’t die, police said. They then attempted to suffocate him by placing a pillow over his face, but that didn’t work either.
In the end, they managed to kill their father by stuffing a rag down his throat and holding his nose closed until he died. The women expressed amazement that he appeared to continue to have a pulse even though he was dead, but then realized it was because his pacemaker continued to operate after he expired, Gualtieri said.
Mary-Beth Tomaselli’s adult daughter was in the home that night, so the sister’s gave her sleeping pills so she wouldn’t wake up and witness the death of her grandfather.
The following morning, cops say the sisters staged giving their father CPR before calling 911.
After his death, the women sold their father’s home and split the $120,000 profit between them and a brother, who was not involved in the murder. Cops say they don’t think the motive was financial.
Upon being arrested, the woman admitted to what had happened, cops said.