We're learning gruesome details about the Clearwater man who is accused of killing his mother while his daughter was inside the home.
Deborah Susan Lohoski was found dead in her backyard Monday evening on El Trinidad Drive, and police say she ultimately died after being hit three times in the head with a sledgehammer.
Matthew Edward Lohoski is accused of doing that – but not before he slit her throat with a box cutter and tried to choke her, police say.
It allegedly happened just feet away from his 7-year-old daughter, who was placed in a room to play video games, investigators said.
Here's how the murder unfolded, according to police:
Lohoski is accused of initially choking his mother from behind until she became unconscious. He then allegedly used a box cutter to slit her throat and armpit, in an attempt to sever an artery.
After checking on his daughter and coming back to find his mother alive, police say he tried to choke her with a zip-tie, which broke.
That's when police say he resorted to the sledgehammer.
Police also say he dropped his daughter off at a friend's house before turning himself into the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, where he was charged with murder.
Lohoski made his first appearance in court Monday. He was appointed a public defender and is being held without bond.
When reached by phone for comment, Matthew Lohoski's ex-wife, Tracey, said she had never seen him react violently, but declined to comment further.
Her friend and spokeswoman, Kim Clark, said the situation was tragic.
"Our hearts bleed for the situation. We are trying to put our heads around this," she said.
However, Lohoski said in court proceedings during a custody battle over their daughter that there was anger between Lohoski and his mother.
Tracey said her ex-husband was afraid of upsetting his mother, and that he signed documents for her reluctantly.
She also said Lohoski would often drink and that he struggled with depression.
But the grandmother may have kept certain parts of her life hidden.
We spoke to the grandmother's hairdresser Tony Esposito, who says that all the time she spent in his chair, he never heard her say a bad word about her son.
"She never talked about her son. Never said anything negative about him. Mostly it was about the little girl," he said. "All the funny things she would say, the funny things she would do, that was her whole life."
Tracey says she is headed from Maryland to the state of Florida, as her child has been placed in the custody of children and family services.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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