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Toledo man charged with mother's murder takes plea deal

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The south Toledo man charged with killing his mother took a plea deal Friday morning that will keep him in prison for the rest of his life. As part of the deal, 34-year-old Anthony Bertolina detailed how he killed his mother right before Christmas.

In the courtroom, Bertolina told the judge how a heroin addiction ruined his life. He said he lost his job and house, moved in with his mother, and felt the only way to continue fueling his drug addiction was by killing her.

Judge: So you stabbed her in the neck. What happened then? 

Bertolina: She stood up. She screamed, "Ow!" And then I plunged the knife in her chest.

A fatal wound to the heart took 56-year-old Mary Bertolina's life, a longtime employee of The Blade.

"She was a very good person, a very caring person, but in my eyes, always lived in fear," said Jeff Cole, Mary's former boss.

Cole said he didn't know what that fear was, but after she didn't show up to work on Dec. 8, he called 911 for police to check on her.

"How a son can murder his mother goes beyond my comprehension," said Cole.

On Friday, Bertolina's admission was very exact and to the point. He stated he had a knife hidden in his room, he went to get it, sat with it for an hour, and then attacked his mother while she was sitting at the kitchen table using her computer.

Bertolina: There was no other way to be able to obtain those drugs. The only thing I could seek to do was to take her life and sell things from the house.

With that admission, the state offered him a sentence of life in prison with eligibility of parole after 30 years. For this crime, he could have been sentenced to life without parole, but the case would have had to go to a jury trial. Prosecutors say this was the best option to guarantee he pays the time for the crime.

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