•Public plea for information continues
By Naomi Klouda
Homer Police continue the investigation into the murder of a man they believe was targeted in a secluded area near down town, but won’t release any details at this time.
“The investigation is ongoing, that’s all I can say about it right now,” Police Chief Mark Robl said Monday.
Mark Matthews, 61, was found on the Poopdeck Trail near the Petro Express gas station on July 28 around 10 p.m. Medics responding to the incident pronounced Matthews dead on the scene. Matthews moved to the area last fall, police said, and was employed. He was a carpenter by trade, his family said.
Robl said few details are being released at this time because of the active investigation and a plea for public information specific to the case. Forensic testing results caused the death to be ruled a homicide. Additional pieces of evidence are being investigated, but Robl couldn’t make any public statement about whether progress is being made. “We are working on it everyday,” he said.
Anyone with information is being encouraged to report it to Crimestoppers, where the reward for information that solves the crime doubled to $2,000.
Robl said, however, that he does not think there is any need for Homer residents to be any more cautious than usual.
ìWe still feel that this man was targeted by someone that he had a relationship with, so the risk to the public is no greater than it was the day before it happened,î Robl said at the time.
Nevertheless, the central position of the trail, which leads through a neighborhood on one side and a tree lined area on the other, is the target of city concern.
ìWeíre patrolling that area as much as we can and do walk through the entire trail at least once a week. We find tents and campers and chase them out but as soon as we leave, theyíre right back in there,î Robl said. City code makes it a violation to camp on any city land that isnít designated a camp ground. CIRI owns nearby land, but also has given police the go ahead to evict campers. Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, located in an historic cabin donated to the trust by a homesteader, also has expressed grave concerns about transients’ activities.
Homer City Manager Walt Wrede directed his Department of Public Works to consult with police and property owners to see what kind of action might help most.
This fall, Public Works will be cleaning up the public easement forming the public trail from Klondike to Heath, leading to the Petro Express Gas Station.
ìWe have not done much yet with Poopdeck Trail. But we will soon. The idea is to thin out the underbrush and improve visibility and sight lines,î Wrede said. ìIt will mostly involve cutting alders and removing lower branches of the spruce tries. Whether City crews or volunteers do it is yet to be determined.î
Public Works Director Carey Meyer said he is consulting with the police chief to work on a trail clearing plan that increases their ability to police the area. As is now, ìit has very low visibility and users of the trail are isolated,î he said.
Anyone with information about Matthewsí death is asked to report that information to the Homer Police Department or call Crimestoppers at 1-800-478-4258. Reports can also be made online.
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