The suspected murder of San Diego State’s late Director of Student Disability Services Mary Shojai appeared in court on Friday, where he pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge, according to the District’s Attorney’s office.
Paul Carl Tomasini, the 64-year- old neighborhood handyman, had been dating Shojai for three years.
The killing was supposedly triggered when Shojai tried to break up with Tomasini.
According to NBC news, the 66-year-old was found in a pool of blood inside her Santee home located on Strathmore Drive shortly before 10 p.m. on Sunday. Shojai, who was struck 17 times with three objects including a wooden mallet and two candlesticks, died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the autopsy released by the medical examiner’s office.
Police were led to the scene after a friend went looking for Shojai when she failed to show up at the airport for a scheduled pickup. Prosecutors said the friend saw Tomasini pacing back and forth inside the house.
Tomasini was arrested at the scene, but taken to the hospital because of non life-threatening stab wounds.
If convicted, Tomasini faces 25 years to life in prison. He is currently kept in jail on a $2 million bail by orders of Judge Charles Ervin.
SDSU’s Chief Diversity Officer Aaron Bruce said Shojai, a mother of two adult children, Mina Moynehan and David Shojai, will be remembered as a “beacon in the community.”
The judge scheduled a readiness conference for Oct. 12 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 19.