Madison Police Capt. Jim Wheeler released a statement Friday that insists the South district is doing all it can to solve the Joel Marino homicide case.
"I have full faith and confidence in the abilities not only of the lead detective on this case," writes Wheeler, "but also to the women and men who have dedicated themselves to finding the perpetrator of this homicide."
The release comes in response to two stories reported by Isthmus on Thursday. The first (Did Madison cops miss chance to catch Joel Marino killer?), written by Jason Shepard and published in the weekly paper, quotes a retired firefighter as saying he saw Marino's killer on West Shore Drive six weeks ago, but never received any response when he called police. The man spotted the same suspect in his south Madison neighborhood on the day Marino was killed. Wheeler was quoted in the piece expressing frustration with complaints about the investigation.
"We have gone above and beyond in the Marino case," Wheeler told Shepard. "It's hurtful when we hear this stuff. If we're not doing our job, go to professional standards, internal affairs, the chief, or the Police and Fire Commission. That's the process for complaints. Now people are just calling the newspapers. It's not fair to us."
The second story (Joel Marino's grandmother: I heard the killer), published online at TheDailyPage.com, describes Marino's grandmother's frustration at the lack of progress shown by the Madison Police Department. After being initially instructed not to speak to the press, Betty Parman revealed to Shepard that she was the last person to speak to Marino alive and she may have overheard the beginning of an attack while speaking to Marino on the phone the day he was killed.
The text of Wheeler's statement follows:
For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Captain Jim Wheeler
Joel Marino Homicide
South District Commander Updates Investigation
First, I want to let you know that we are sensitive and understanding of the Marino family and their frustration of trying to find justice in identifying and locating their son's senseless murderer. The Department is totally committed to solving this homicide for various obvious reasons to include helping to obtain closure for the family and friends of Joel Marino and also to take a dangerous person off the streets in our community. As a Commanding officer in the South district where this tragedy occurred, I have full faith and confidence in the abilities not only of the lead detective on this case but also to the women and men who have dedicated themselves to finding the perpetrator of this homicide.
So far our detectives have:
Have sought and received information from various law enforcement agencies within the state of Wisconsin and have even reached out to departments in the State of Texas
We have also worked very closely with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Many other agencies have also contacted the Madison Police Department to give us tips, which have been acted on.
We have contacted over 800 individuals and have developed over 80 potential suspects who have so far been cleared.
We are proactively developing suspects and checking them out as the investigation continues.
We have generated fliers that officers and those close to Joel have posted around the crime scene and the downtown.
We have worked with Adams Outdoor Advertising in getting information about the crime up on a billboard.
We have worked with UW-Madison communications staff in getting information about Joel's murder up on the UW-Madison's website.
We have posted a full page of information in the local newspaper seeking tips.