PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WZTV) — Two sisters are accused of killing their father and confessing the crime to a man they both dated.
Sisters Linda Roberts, 61, and Mary-Beth Tomaselli, 63, are both charged with first degree murder in connection to the March 2015 death of their father, 85-year-old Anthony Tomaselli.
Pinellas County deputies were called to a home in Palm Harbor for reports of a deceased person on the morning of March 6, 2015. Sisters Linda and Mary-Beth were both at the home and were interviewed separately, reportedly telling deputies their father had fallen asleep on the couch the night prior and he wasn't breathing when they checked on him the next morning. The sisters say they tried CPR and called 911.
While investigating the death, authorities learned of Tomaselli's extensive medical history. His primary care physician listed his cause of death as natural due to the 85-year-old's advancing age and medical history.
Fast forward to February 13, 2019, when detectives from the robbery and homicide unit were contacted by a man claiming to have had a relationship with both sisters. He informed police he had a recording of Linda confessing to her father's murder.
Deputies say the man handed over the recording of Linda's confession and helped them get recorded statements from both Linda and Mary-Beth about their father's death.
The sheriff's office says both women on a recording said the killing was "premeditated" and that they "euthanized" their father because he was going to die in a few months and would not live at an assisted living facility. Recordings detail that their initial plan was to give their father alcohol and an excessive amount of sleeping pills, then tried to suffocate him with a pillow over his face. When that didn't work, investigators say the sisters stuffed a rag down his throat, pinched his nose and held his arms down until he stopped breathing.
Mary-Beth also reportedly said she gave her daughter sleeping pills, so she would not be awake to witness her grandfather's murder.
The women said they "faked" finding their father dead and staged giving him CPR, according to deputies.
After their father's death, the women sold his home and split the proceeds with their brother, who deputies say was not involved in the murder.
Authorities arrested Linda and Mary-Beth on March 5 and reported that both women admitted to their first degree murder charges. The sisters were taken to Pinellas County Jail without incident as the investigation continues.