Tomasini says ‘not guilty’ on murder charge

by Ana Ceballos

Kevin Smead, Entertainment Editor

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, who asked that their names be withheld from this story, 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.

*This story has been edited to remove the names of individual who asked that their privacy in this matter be respected.