November 1, 2014

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Arrest tape played at woman’s shooting trial

Tina D’Agostino

Tina D’Agostino

ELYRIA — The woman on trial for shooting her former boyfriend in the abdomen in 2010 after he forced open their bedroom door said after her arrest, “My boyfriend was abusive — he snapped,” according to a tape recording played Tuesday.

An Ohio Highway Patrol trooper, Joshua Bolduan, said Tina D’Agostino was crying during the arrest and asked repeatedly about her then-boyfriend, Steven Augustus.

After her arrest, she could be heard in the tape recording saying, “I was going to turn myself in” and “is Steve OK?”

D’Agostino also asked the trooper, “Could you make sure nothing happens to the truck?” and “I’ve never been in trouble before,” according to the recording of the arrest, which occurred about 4 a.m. Feb. 28, 2010.

The tape was played for the jury by Karri Peck, one of D’Agostino’s defense attorneys, after Bolduan testified that D’Agostino had confessed to shooting Augustus.

Bolduan said he spoke at length to D’Agostino after she was read her Miranda rights against self-incrimination.

He said D’Agostino complained that Augustus rationed heat in the house they shared in Sheffield Lake and she “wouldn’t get a dime” if it was sold.

When asked if Augustus had physically abused her, Bolduan testified that D’Agostino said Augustus had kicked her one time in his sleep when he had been drinking.

Bolduan recalled that D’Agostino said she had “snapped” and that it was uncharacteristic of her.

“He was very emotionally abusive to her that day and she snapped and shot him,” Bolduan said.
“He started burning pictures and said she could light a fire with them,” he said.

Under questioning from Assistant Prosecutor Donna Freeman, Bolduan testified that D’Agostino’s behavior was unusual compared with other individuals arrested in shootings.

He testified that he arrested D’Agostino in Augustus’ truck the day after the shooting as she was driving east on the Ohio Turnpike near the Indiana line.

A machine that automatically reads license plates had indicated that there was a warrant for the person driving the truck, he said.

Also testifying Tuesday was Mildred Stafford, a retired school bus driver who had worked alongside D’Agostino, who also was a bus driver. Stafford said the house shared by the couple was “very cold,” and said “I could barely pick the silverware up” when she was invited for dinner to celebrate her birthday.

On that occasion, Augustus never came out of his room, Stafford said.

She said her friend was “very quiet” in Augustus’ presence but was normally outgoing.

Under questioning from Freeman, Stafford acknowledged her friend lied to her twice: once when she said marijuana plants growing in the house were just flowers, and the other time when she promised not to smoke in Stafford’s car when she borrowed it.

Also testifying Tuesday were several of D’Agostino’s relatives, who said her behavior changed and she was less communicative after entering into the relationship with Augustus.

D’Agostino’s mother testified that her daughter would often say, “I just can’t talk now,” when she phoned and also said, “It was just different.” The trial is expected to resume at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the courtroom of Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.