A Clearwater man told police it took him four tries to kill his mother.
Matthew Lohoski turned himself over to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on Monday after allegedly committing the crime.
"It's just a real sad situation. It never should of happened," his next door neighbor, Hedy, said. Hedy would only give us her first name.
She said she knew Deborah Lohoski and her son, Matthew, well. She knew of problems in the past but was surprised to hear that a disagreement last night pushed a man she called a nice person to kill his own mother.
"She didn't deserve to die," Hedy said. "But something must of happened and Matt just kind of snapped, because this is just not Matt."
Investigators said Lohoski first strangled his mother until she passed out and then slit her throat with a box cutter.
When that didn't work, police said he tied a zip tie around her neck, but it broke. Finally, Lohoski told police he hit her three times with a sledge hammer, killing her.
In between each attempt he went inside the house to check on his daughter in a bedroom.
Lohoski took his daughter to a friend's house before turning himself in.
Police said they were at the house less than 24 hours before the crime to give Lohoski a DUI citation. At the time, police said there was no indication of trouble.
Tuesday afternoon, he made his first appearance in court. He was issued no bond and given a court appointed attorney.