The presumption of innocence aside, it does seem rather likely that 20-year-old Adam Peterson was responsible for the death of Joel Marino. His DNA is on the murder weapon and he's on tape admitting to the crime.
Much less clear is whether anyone will get the $45,000-plus publicly offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Marino's killer.
The reward fund, from private donations, was created by Marino's friend Bryan Bazan. He says talk of a recipient is premature: "There isn't a decision. There won't be until [after] a conviction is made."
If and when that happens, says Bazan, "I'm sure I'll be getting tons of calls." But for now, "Nobody has contacted me."
Lou Marino, Joel's father, has heard that "police feel it was their work that led them to Adam Peterson." He's also heard that a witness who helped create a composite sketch contacted police about the reward.
MPD Capt. Jim Wheeler is unaware of any such contact and says decisions about the reward must be made by fund administrators. He won't say whether anyone outside of the department played a key role in cracking the case: "It depends what you mean by key role; it was several pieces that came together."
One potential reward recipient is John R. Broda, a disabled man who lives in downtown Madison. According to the search warrant used to obtain Peterson's DNA, Broda called police on March 16 "about a person whom he believed might have committed the Marino homicide." This person worked at Capitol Centre Foods and fit the description of the man police were seeking.
Police interviewed Broda the next day. It's not clear whether they followed up on this lead, but Peterson was for a time employed at the grocery. When Broda was shown a photo lineup on June 23, he picked out Peterson's photo as "the same guy from the store." Three days later, Peterson was arrested.
Broda tells Isthmus he also contacted police in February to implicate this individual and was ignored: "The police made a super mistake by not paying attention to me." Capt. Wheeler says police followed up on all tips. Pressed on whether Broda called in February, he gets testy: "I don't know the answer, and I'm not going to take time out of my day to find out."
Broda, 54, works at a local law firm sorting mail. He has multiple health problems, including Parkinson's. He says the reward money would come in handy: "I'm not rich. I live in an apartment."
Lou Marino thinks Broda is a prime candidate. He's concerned that the fund not "become a sham," causing people to be skeptical of such offers and not report tips. "Someone deserves this award," he says, "if not more than one person sharing it."