Answers sought in city murder-suicide

April 25, 2013
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
A makeshift memorial of flowers, photos and wreaths was erected between Hungry Jose’s and Keystone Club on South Main Strteet in Washington, where Nathan T. Roman of Washington was shot and killed early Thursday morning. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
Michael Marchines of Washington was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in front of the South Side restaurant Thursday morning. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
People gather between Hungry Jose’s restaurant and the Keystone Club on South Main Street in Washington, the scene of a murder early Thursday morning. Order a Print
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An undated photo of Nathan Roman
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An undated photo of Michael Marchines, left, and Nathan Roman

Washington police said it appears Nathan T. Roman and Michael Marchines were friends and had been for some time.

Investigators are now left to figure out what caused Marchines to shoot Roman outside Hungry Jose’s on South Main Street about 2:30 a.m. Thursday and then turn the gun on himself less than an hour later.

Roman, 30, of Country Club Road, Washington, was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen at Washington Hospital about an hour after he was shot, said Washington County Coroner Tim Warco. Marchines, 31, of East Prospect Avenue, Washington, was pronounced dead at 5:40 a.m. of a gunshot wound to the head, about two-and-a-half hours after he was found shot at the corner of South and South Main streets, about a block from where Roman was shot. Warco ruled Roman’s death a homicide and Marchines’ a suicide. Police found a handgun near Marchines’ body.

City police Lt. Dan Stanek said the two men had been drinking with another friend inside Hungry Jose’s.

“We do think there was an argument inside the bar,” Stanek said, adding there was no report of any fisticuffs between the two men. “But at this point, we don’t know what it was about.”

All three men reportedly left the bar together. Stanek said the third man headed toward his vehicle.

“He saw (Marchines running away) and then found the other one (on the sidewalk),” Stanek said. “He never heard any gunshots.”

Police were able to track Marchines’ cellphone and knew he was in the area.

“We knew he was moving around in that area,” Stanek said. “We had gone to that location to look for him and found him on the sidewalk in front of the Southside restaurant.”

Police in the area also did not hear gunfire before finding Marchines’ body.

As of late Thursday afternoon, Stanek had not had a chance to interview the third man. The detective dismissed reports that the argument was over concert tickets. Police also will check surveillance video from cameras in the area, as well as from cameras inside the bar.

Friends gathered at Hungry Jose’s Thursday afternoon to express their sorrow.

One friend of the two men urged others to contribute to a memorial of flowers and trinkets in their honor outside Hungry Jose’s.

“It’s a plain memorial to the loss and to show respect to the individuals,” said a man who would only identify himself at the bar as Rod and as a good friend of Marchines and Roman.

“They both were friendly people who were having a good time,” Rod said. “It shouldn’t have happened. It was almost like two brothers going at it. We’re mourning the loss of both lives.”

Washington Councilman Matt Staniszewski said he also knew the two men, that he had attended public school with Marchines and graduated from Washington High School with the his sister, Nicole.

“I was shocked this morning,” Staniszewski said. “From what I hear, they were in Jose’s and there were no altercations, no problems.”

“They’re both pretty well known in many circles. I bumped into them from time to time. They loved going to concerts,”said Washington attorney Peter Marcoline Jr., who once represented Marchines in a domestic case.

“I don’t know what happened,” Marcoline said. “I saw him two weeks ago. He was always a nice guy.”

By lunchtime Thursday, the memorial outside Hungry Jose’s consisted of a small bouquet of flowers, white carnations spread on the blacktop and a floral arrangement signed by someone who identified herself as a sibling of one of the deceased.

“My friend, my inspiration, but most importantly my brother, I will miss everything about you!” the woman wrote on a card attached to the flowers.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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