By Elizabeth Landry
On March 20, former Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) student Joshua Leon Carmona attacked and killed his mother at their townhouse in Riverview, FL. It was her birthday.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Carmona used a baseball bat and a butcher knife to kill Tahirih Lua D’Angelo, in an attack that he had planned for “a period of time.” He left her wrapped in a comforter in the bathroom and later told investigators that he “tried to clean the carpet with baking soda.”
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Col. Donna Lusczynski told the Tampa Bay Times at a news conference on March 21 that the slaying was “motivated by ‘ongoing family issues,’” and that he had also planned to kill his stepfather.
After the slaying, Carmona picked up his 3-year-old half-sister from day care and met a friend to play basketball in a neighborhood park. According to the arrest report, he told the friend “he ‘killed somebody and he was going to prison for a long time,’” and that “he was contemplating killing himself.” The friend took his sister “to family.”
That night, Carmona was spotted driving his mother’s car heading north on Interstate 275. When a deputy pulled him over he “got out and threw himself to the ground,” before giving a full confession. D’Angelo was found by her father-in-law the same evening.
Carmona, whose high school classmates voted him “Most Likely to Succeed,” had enrolled at FCLC for the Fall 2016 semester. He lived in McMahon Hall for approximately three months before dropping out to move back home near the end of the semester.
Carmona’s former FCLC roommate, Moises Mendez, FCLC ’18, described him as a loner who liked to smoke weed, and never spoke about his family. “It wasn’t weird or anything, but he didn’t do much,” he said. “He never spoke about anyone, he never spoke about his mom, he never spoke about his dad. Like I never knew he had a half sister or anything like that. I didn’t know anything about him.” Mendez struggled to remember what Carmona had told him he was studying on the first day of the semester when they introduced themselves.
“We didn’t speak for two months in that room,” Mendez said. “He never said a thing.”
On November 30, Carmona had his first brush with the law when he was arrested and charged with car theft and harassment in Middlebury Township, Penn. The victim, Dianne Ruth Gee, accused him of shoving her to the ground and driving off in her Jeep Liberty. Carmona told investigators the U-Haul pickup truck he rented to visit friends ran out of gas, so he intended to sleep in the stolen car.
Mendez said that after Thanksgiving, he never saw Carmona return to campus. “I was wondering, like, okay he’s been gone for a week, he’s probably using his absences to spend more time with his family or whatever,” Mendez said. “But he never came back.”
Carmona was also arrested earlier this spring on DUI charges in Georgia.
According to his step-grandfather Bob D’Angelo, “neither his family nor the therapists and counselors he saw after moving back home saw signs that Carmona could be violent toward others.”
Mendez backs up this idea, although he says in retrospect, there were oddities in Carmona’s behavior, some more noticeable than others. When the suitemates would bring friends over, he said, Carmona was totally unsociable, even to the point that he ignored Mendez’s visiting parents. He said Carmona hardly ever seemed to be attending class and kept an unpredictable schedule. He also said they suspected he was a kleptomaniac due to his possession of a TV with no cords and an Xbox with no controllers. “It was weird,” Mendez repeated.
The day of Carmona’s arrest, Mendez was alerted to the slaying by a friend who recalled his roommate’s name. “You’re lying to me, he wouldn’t do something like that,” he remembers responding. “My heart, like, dropped. It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, he had been thinking of doing this for a while…That’s a violent-ass crime.”
However, Mendez refused to judge his former roommate. “He’s not that type of person,” he insisted. “Like his mother probably treated him like shit for all of his life, and his stepfather so, there was probably some motive behind it. [The media] didn’t talk about his motive at all.”