Louis Berger called 911 Sunday afternoon and told a dispatcher to send an ambulance and police to his home on Tesuque Drive in Española because he had just tried to kill his mother.
Berger, 27, had used a knife to cut Rhonda Berger’s throat and told an officer he kept cutting down to the bone until he “couldn’t saw no more,” according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court.
The complaint gives no details about the events that might have prompted Louis Berger to carry out the attack. A search of New Mexico court records shows he has not been convicted of another violent crime.
He was booked into the Rio Arriba County jail Monday afternoon on one count of attempted first-degree murder. He is being held without bond.
Officers with the Española Police Department and Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office responded to Berger’s 911 call. They found Rhonda Berger found inside the kitchen with a laceration to her neck about 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Cannon wrote in the criminal complaint.
“Mr. Berger spoke of the clear purpose of killing his mother,” Cannon wrote, adding he observed Louis Berger’s hands were “covered in blood” and that he also had blood on his pants.
Rhonda Berger was taken to Presbyterian Española Hospital before being flown to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Asked to comment Monday on Rhonda Berger’s condition, a UNM Hospital spokesperson said they “could neither confirm or deny” she was at the facility.
Berger told Española police Detective Byron Abeyta he had put his mother in a chokehold and dragged her to the the kitchen where he attempted to push her face into the stove. She tried to fight back by hitting him.
“Mr. Berger stated that he got onto the ground, hooked his legs around his mother and continued to choke her out,” Cannon wrote. “Mr. Berger clearly stated that the purpose of the chokehold was to ‘suffocate’ his mother.”
During the interview, Berger said he used three knives — a fillet knife, bread knife and a Mac professional knife — in the attack and at one point grabbed the fillet knife and tried to stab his mother. He said he had plans to “gut her,” according to the criminal complaint.
While Rhonda Berger attempted to pull the knife away from her neck, Louis Berger said he “kept trying to saw more,” Cannon wrote.
When he stopped cutting her throat, Louis Berger told his mother to stay where she was and that he was going to call police, authorities said.
Although Berger questioned whether he should be talking to the detective, he continued to speak voluntarily, Cannon wrote in the criminal complaint. Berger then told Abeyta he knew he was going to turn himself in, regardless of whether he killed his mother.
“I knew going into this, that I was going to go to jail,” Berger said, according to the criminal complaint.
Berger told officers he was previously diagnosed with a mental illness and claimed “he hears a voice that sounds like his mother’s voice,” Cannon wrote.
He wanted to take his mother “out of the picture,” Berger told officers, and while he acknowledged he cut her, he denied doing anything wrong.