ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - Two sisters accused of murdering their father marked the four-year anniversary of his’s death by standing in front of a judge.
At their first appearance Wednesday, Mary-Beth Tomaselli and Linda Roberts sorted out who their attorneys would be and were denied bond.
The sheriff said the women had called 911 in March of 2015 to report the death of their father, Anthony Tomaselli of Palm Harbor.
At the time, Tomaselli and Roberts claimed their 85-year-old father had been ill with cancer and dementia; they said they'd awoken to find he had died in his sleep.
"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.
It wasn't until 2019 that a tipster, identified by the sheriff only as a sexual partner of both of the women, gave deputies video that he’d recorded of Linda Roberts confessing how she and her sister had "euthanized" their father.
"It all unraveled for them from there," Gualtieri said.
The pair had tried to kill him with “an excessive amount” of sleeping pills and alcohol, the sheriff said. When that failed, Roberts tried to suffocate him, then stuffed a rag down his throat while Tomaselli pinched his nose shut.
“They decided to euthanize him because he would not go to the [assisted living facility],” Gualtieri explained.
After their father’s death, detectives said the two sold their father’s home and split the profits between themselves and their brother, who wasn’t involved in the killings.
Neighbors who knew "Tony" Tomaselli where shaken to the core to hear how he actually died.
"I didn't ever in my wildest dreams think that that happened to Tony," said Carol Gransky. "A rag in his throat? That's a horrible way. I hope they rot in hell."