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Man arrested for brutal slaying of Point Park University voice teacher

Tony LaRussa
| Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 5:03 a.m.

A Carrick man wanted in connection with the killing of a Point Park University instructor was booked into the Allegheny County Jail on Tuesday , according to authorities.

Investigators charged Joseph Martin, 35, with criminal homicide in connection with the death of his roommate, Ricardo Tobia, 71. Police say the men shared as home in the 500 block of Kirk Avenue in Carrick.

Police took Martin into custody Tuesday after he was discharged from a hospital where he was being securely held for observation, according to a Pittsburgh police spokeswoman. He remains in jail on charges of homicide and aggravated cruelty to animals.

Tobia worked part time as a voice instructor at Point Park University in Downtown.

Officers from the city’s Zone 3 station went to the home early Saturday morning to check on Tobia after his sister was unable to reach him, according to criminal complaint filed in support of the charges against Martin.

When officers arrived they found the front door open and entered the residence, where they discovered Tobia dead in a back bedroom from multiple stab wounds that nearly decapitated him.

An autopsy showed that in addition to multiple stab wounds to the torso and neck, Tobia sustained a laceration wound of the abdomen and a gunshot wound to the head.

Officers also found Tobia’s dog dead with its throat cut and a gunshot wound to the head. Martin is charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal in connection with the dog’s death.

Investigators say they found a sword and knife with dried blood on them near Tobia’s body.

All four walls and the ceiling in the room where Tobia was killed were splattered with blood and blood smears were discovered in the hallway, dining room, bathroom, kitchen and entrance to home’s basement.

Investigators say Martin’s mother had him involuntarily committed to the psychiatric ward at Jefferson Hospital on July 5 because he was acting in a “catatonic, non lucid, unresponsive manner” and exhibiting bizarre behavior.

Martin’s mother told police that when she spoke to her son the following day he told her he was experiencing nightmares and that “demons took and over and he thinks he hurt Rick.”

During the investigation into Tobia’s death, police learned of two previous incidents involving Martin.

In 2006, Martin was committed to the Western Psychiatric Institute after Tobia told police he was making “irrational statements” and was chasing him around the house with a sword.

In May 2016, police convinced Martin to commit himself to UPMC Mercy Hospital after they found him hiding between cars with knives and a sword.

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