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BALDWIN, Pa. (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police detectives spent Tuesday morning at the Baldwin home of the parents of a 35-year-old man accused in the killing of his roommate in Carrick.
Joseph Martin, 35, of Baldwin, is charged with criminal homicide and aggravated cruelty to an animal after police say he stabbed, shot and nearly decapitated 71-year-old Ricardo Tobia at the home they shared on Kirk Avenue in Carrick. Police also say Martin is accused of shooting Tobia’s dog in the head and cutting its throat.
Police believe that Martin came to his parent’s home on Grace Street in Baldwin on July 5, sometime after the alleged crime.
Police say Martin’s mother, Margaret Martin, called 911 after witnessing her son’s “catatonic, non lucid, unresponsive manner.” She said she returned home and found her son who did not have a shirt on and was wearing a pair of “dirty, filthy dark-colored, cammo-style pants.” The woman told police her son was sweating profusely and breathing heavy. She said he was unresponsive and would say nonsensical things such as “one, one, one, one,” and then suddenly point at various spaces. She told police he would run throughout the house and was in fear that “they were after him.”
After Martin’s mother called police, he was committed to Jefferson Hospital Psychiatric Ward involuntarily.
The following day, Martin called his mother and said that he had been experiencing nightmares and that “demons took over and he thinks he hurt Rick.”
Martin’s mother and his sister then tried to reach “Rick,” identified as Tobia. When they couldn’t reach him, they alerted police.
Police found Tobia and his dog murdered inside the home on Kirk Avenue.
Martin’s mother later reached out to investigators and said she had been looking in her son’s car on July 5 when she found a gun and a box of bullets. She said she didn’t notice any blood. She also said she removed dirty clothes from the car and washed them. She said she wrapped the gun and bullets in a towel and hid them beneath a piece of furniture in her bedroom so Martin couldn’t find them.
Martin’s mother later showed police where she hid the items. Police say there were apparent blood smears on the box of bullets and seven bullets were missing from the tray of 50 bullets.
Police say they also found Martin’s blood-stained shoes in his parent’s basement, under the coffee table. Police say the tread pattern on the bottom of the shoes was consistent with the bloody shoe impressions found in the dining room of the home where the murder occurred.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Martin was taken into police custody after being discharged from the hospital and was still awaiting his preliminary hearing.
KDKA’s attempts to talk with Martin’s mother were unsuccessful, but we did talk with a neighbor who said she’s known the family for 30 years.
“I don’t understand how that happens, I really don’t understand that,” said Valerie Sroka, neighbor. “I feel sorry for her, because she’s such a wonderful person. I really mean that, she’s just a down-to-earth, good family woman. I feel so bad for her my heart goes out to her for sure.”
Tobia was a voice instructor at Point Park University.
The Fairview United Methodist Church in Overbrook is mourning Tobia’s sudden death. He was a member of the church choir for about a decade, and for the past three years, he was Fairview’s choir director.
Church historian Rich Cummings said “He was here every Sunday…very involved in any kind of events we had and certainly every year. He would bring in the Point Park singers, and they perform here. It was usually standing room only.”
Deborah Metzger is the owner and director at Paragon Studios in McCandless. She said Tobia was her voice teacher for four years. She described Tobia as the once-in-a-lifetime teacher that you can never forget.
“I teach voice lessons, he is in every single lesson that I teach,” Metzger said. Ricardo made it fun, interesting. He used terminology you could understand well. He was just a unique teacher. He lived for students and wanted them to succeed above all else.”