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Suspect in Santee Murder Pleads Not Guilty; Details of Incident Emerge

Paul Carl Tomasini remains in custody on $2 million bail, accused of fatally bludgeoning Santee resident Mary Shojai.

Updated October 5 @ 3:30 p.m.

A handyman bludgeoned to death a Santee resident using a mallet and some candlesticks, as she tried to break off a romantic relationship, prosecutors alleged Friday.

Paul Carl Tomasini, 64, pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge in Sunday's death of Mary Shojai, 62. Judge Charles Ervin ordered that he be kept in jail on $2 million bail.

"They had been dating approximately three years," Deputy District Attorney Amy Colby said about Tomasini and Shojai, the director of student disability services at SDSU. "It appeared she was trying to break off the relationship."

The prosecutor told the judge that Shojai had been scheduled to pick up a friend at the airport, but failed to show. When the traveler went to the woman's home in the 10500 block of Strathmore Drive, she saw the defendant pacing inside, Colby said.

According to the prosecutor, both the friend and the defendant called law enforcement, and deputies who responded around 10 p.m. found the mother of two adult children on the floor, in a pool of blood.

Investigators found two large candlesticks and a wooden mallet nearby, she said.

"On the base of the mallet and the candlesticks were discovered blood and hair," Colby said.

She said an autopsy determined that she had been struck about 17 times.

Tomasini faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, and an additional year for each of three weapons allegations lodged against him.

He was hospitalized after his arrest, and his arraignment was delayed by two days, but Colby would not address his medical condition.

The judge scheduled a readiness conference for Oct. 12 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 19.

According to the university's website, Shojai worked for 37 years at SDSU, where a colleague called her "a transformational leader" who got things done.

—City News Service

Read more Santee crime news

Melonie October 05, 2012 at 10:38 PM
I hope his (stab) wounds are from Mary and every time he looks at the scars he'll be haunted by his actions.
Emily Chamberlin Kattawar October 05, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I hope she died from the very first blow, and never felt another drop of pain.
Mo October 06, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Another man going crazy over being dumped. Very sad.
william October 06, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Actually I hope they were self inflicted stab wounds. If they were from her it would give this POS a chance at claiming self defense. It appears as though he self inflicted stab wounds in a pathetic attempt to commit suicide. Hopefully he rots in prison next to Frank Weaver.
Bear Benami October 11, 2012 at 04:26 AM
I worked with Mary for almost 20 years. The world has lost one of the best and most substantial movers and shakers. We are all less for the loss. RIP, dear Mary.
buzidebbee October 13, 2012 at 06:26 AM
If you think anyone you are having contact with may be violent SEEK HELP. Do not be embarrassed or try and handle it yourself. The police are more than happy to assist. I am sorry for the loss. her friends, family, and coworkers have suffered.

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