BOLTON — When handsome, strapping, 18-year-old Francesco Molinaro headed off to Wasaga Beach with his friends, he kissed his mom goodbye and bounded out the door like a big happy puppy.
“I love you. Be good now,” Maria Molinaro called after him.
The memory sticks in her heart like glue. Because that was the last time she ever saw her son.
A few hours later, he texted her that he arrived safe with his buddies: “I’m good, love you.”
A couple of hours later his mom texted him.
He never answered.
“I guess that is when it was happening,” says Maria.
‘It’ — is an easier word for her to use — because the words ‘knifing’ or ‘murder’ or ‘slaughter’ are too painful to say out loud. The ache in her heart too raw.
She has also never been able to look at the cellphone video that shows the slaying of her son that night, May 21, 2016. Francesco was strolling down the street with his friends in the crowded beach party town after getting pizza when he committed the sin of accidentally bumping into three strangers.
The disturbing video shows the three teens circle him like jackals, pounce, punch and beat him. Then suddenly one of them pulls out a knife and jabs it into Francesco’s side and back several times. Not realizing he is mortally wounded, Francesco fights back. But soon he weakens as the blood drains from his vibrant body, and the baby boy that this mother had raised to a young man is no more.
His killer, Jonathan Landsberg, then 18, of Whitby, pleaded guilty mid-trial to second-degree murder and was sentenced in November to life in prison with no chance of parole for ten years.
Now Francesco’s family and friends want stricter knife laws.
“Why do we have strict gun laws but anyone can carry a knife?” asks Francesco’s father, Ernie Molinaro.
Landsberg always carried a knife, his friends testified at his trial.
Two weeks after he killed Francesco, Landsberg held a knife to yet another victim, who he taped to a chair and robbed.
Francesco’s grieving family say knives should be controlled — especially in the busy beach party town of Wasaga where a second stabbing death happened the same May 2016 weekend.