Joel Marino's grandmother says the Madison police told her not to talk to the press about her grandson's murder. Today, she broke her silence.
"I think we have a right to know more than they're telling us," Betty Parman tells Isthmus.
Parman was the last person known to have talked to Marino before he was stabbed to death inside his house on West Shore Drive, three blocks south of Brittingham Park, on Jan. 28.
It was Parman's 75th birthday that day, and Marino had driven to East Troy the night before to have a Sunday birthday dinner with his grandmother.
On Monday, Joel Marino called to wish her a happy birthday. Ten minutes into the call, at 12:40 p.m., Parman says she heard a "scary noise" in the background. Her grandson said he had to go.
"All of a sudden he said, I gotta go, Grandma, I gotta go," Parman recalls. "I'll call you right back, but I gotta go."
She said the noise sounded like a "Halloween prank" and wondered if her grandson's friends had stopped by and were playing a trick on him.
Marino never called back.
Sometime between 4 and 5 p.m., Parman got a call from Debbie Marino, Joel Marino's stepmother.
"Debbie said to me, he had been murdered," Parman says. "I said, what do you mean? I just talked to him."
Police believe Marino's killer walked through an unlocked door into Marino's house, and stabbed him somewhere in the living room. Nothing was stolen, family members were told by police. Marino apparently did not call 911, but instead tried to make it to St. Mary's Hospital, just a block away. He collapsed in the alley, and died a short time later.
Parman says she told Detective Matt Misener about this.
"I said, I heard the killer you know. And he said, yes, I know. But he said you can't tell anyone about this. So for all this time, I've not said anything."
She says she's talking now because, "I think we've given the police every opportunity to do some things that we felt were necessary."
Last week, she called Misener to express her frustration with the lack of progress.
"I said, Matt, I am so disappointed," Parman says. "How long are we supposed to wait? I might be dead before they find Joel's killer. That boy was so special to me."