Madison police continue their investigation into the death of a Madison man in the city's near south side early yesterday afternoon. Around 1:22 p.m. on Monday, police were called to an alley between South Park Street and West Shore Drive on Monona Bay where they found a man in medical distress. He was subsequently transported to a hospital and pronounced dead shortly after 2 p.m. The victim's name -- Joel Anthony Marino -- was released in a department press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
"At this point, we cannot rule out that this was not a random act," says MPD Asst. Chief Randy Gaber of the incident, which may have occurred in part inside Marino's home on West Shore Drive. Following an autopsy on Tuesday morning, the cause of death was due to "multiple, penetrating wounds from a sharp instrument" as described by Dane County Coroner John Stanley.
Police are seeking a person of interest, seen by a witness on Monday as in the vicinity of the crime around the time of the incident. This person is described as a male between 6' and 6'1" tall, who was wearing a sheepskin coat, a white stocking cap with a red motion "W" on it (photo), and carrying a "new looking" gray backpack (photo). Anybody who has any information about this person is encouraged to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers.
"Obviously this is a tragic event that has the community concerned," says Capt. James Wheeler of the MPD's South District. "We do have a lot of resources investigating this crime, detectives from all districts helping us out, and the Community Policing Team handing out flyers for a community meeting on Wednesday.
Wheeler noted that there have been burglaries in the neighborhood, but no problems with violent crime. The department did not release details as to what may have occurred inside the victim's home, other than that part of the incident may have occurred inside. "We leave all of our options open," reiterates Gaber. "At this point we want the community aware that this may be a random act, and it is our responsibility and our duty that this information is put out there."
Marino was an engaged resident in the near south side neighborhood. As noted in a May 2007 article published in the Cap Times, he was active in an effort to prevent a storm sewer from running across Park Street and through the alley into Monona Bay. "He really was a decent guy," says District 13 alder Julia Kerr, who was also present at the press conference. "We had several conversations about neighborhood issues."
Kerr and representatives of the police will be holding a neighborhood meeting about the incident at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30 in St. Mary's Hospital. There were five homicides in Madison in 2007, and eight total in Dane County. This is the first homicide of 2008 in the city.