Son Charged with Attempted Murder of His Mother

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Three Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department units and a State Police crime scene unit on Monday were still parked outside the site of Sunday’s alleged brutal attack.

Louis Berger called 911 Sunday night.

“You’re going to need to send police and an ambulance,” he said, according to a Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department criminal complaint. “I just tried to murder my mom.”

Officers found Rhonda Berger in the kitchen of her Española home with a six-inch long, one-inch wide gash in her neck and arrested her son on the scene.

She was rushed to Española Hospital and then flown to University of New Mexico Hospital’s Trauma Unit, where she was reportedly in critical condition as of Monday night.

It wasn’t Louis’ first alleged attack on a parent. Beaver Falls, Penn. police charged him with aggravated assault in 2012 for repeatedly punching his father, Kevin Farkas, in a rage and hitting him over the head with a guitar, also hitting his grandfather when he tried to intervene and allegedly biting a responding police officer, according to an article by the Beaver County Times.

A Tuesday motion for pretrial detention stated Berger had no ties to New Mexico other than Rhonda Berger—having moved in with his mother Nov. 4—and is at risk of fleeing back to Pennsylvania where he has family.

Berger, 27, made his first appearance from jail by video in Española Magistrate Court Tuesday on a charge of attempted murder in the first degree.

Berger reportedly told deputies he had a previous schizophrenia diagnosis and heard a voice that sounded like his mother. The motion for pretrial detention states he told a deputy he had stopped taking his medication because it was not working.

“She’s messing with me spiritually,” he reportedly said, covered in blood. “I had to teach her a lesson.”

Deputies booked Berger into the Rio Arriba County Detention Center Sunday night after he was cleared medically.

An attempted murder conviction could net Berger up to 15 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine, though previous criminal history can increase these sentences.

The criminal complaint stated Louis Berger first tried to strangle his mother, then tried to saw through her neck with three different knives and held her down for two minutes “hoping she would bleed out.”

It states he also tried to stab her.

“Let her guts out and hopefully she would die, but, uh, it’s not like the movies,” he reportedly told deputies.

Deputy Joseph Cannon wrote that Berger professed to knowing the consequences of his alleged actions, and that the body camera was recording when he arrived on the scene, where Española Police Officer Brandon Archuleta had already arrested the man.

“I knew I was gonna turn myself in no matter what,” Cannon quoted Berger as saying. “Whether I killed her or not, I knew going into this that I was gonna go to jail.”

Española Firefighter Zack Logsdon, who responded to the call, said Rhonda Berger had defensive wounds on her hands. He said Española Police Department officers applied pressure to her neck wound until medics arrived.

“I give them kudos, they jumped in before we were able to get there,” he said.

He said Rhonda Berger was breathing but unconscious due to medication when she was flown to Albuquerque about 30 minutes after arriving at Española Hospital for initial treatment, and that she had a stable heart rate and oxygen rate at the time.

Pennsylvania court records show Louis Berger ultimately pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in relation to the 2012 alleged assault and received one year of probation.

A status hearing is scheduled for Dec.11 for the alleged attack Sunday. Sydney West of the Law Offices of the Public Defender is currently representing Berger. She declined to comment on the case in a Tuesday interview because she not been able to meet with yet Berger due to inclement weather.

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