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Citrus man killed while working in Dade

Published Oct. 12, 2005

(ran T edition of B)

An Inverness man was shot to death Friday while working temporarily in Homestead selling recreational vehicles.

Miami police have made no arrests, and the victim's family is questioning whether the case is being investigated aggressively enough.

Joseph Murray, 33, of 503 Hunting Lodge Drive, was shot twice in the head during a confrontation with another man at a Miami apartment where Murray was staying, said Murray's mother, Josephine DiBartolo.

In an interview Monday, family members said Miami police have told them the killing was sexually related and possibly done in self-defense. Murray was homosexual, family members said, and that's causing police to take the case less seriously.

"He was too good a person to be brushed aside just like he's nothing," Mrs. DiBartolo said.

Miami police confirmed that Murray was fatally shot, but investigators could not be reached for further comment Monday.

His family, however, made their feelings clear.

"They're saying my brother made sexual advances," which led to him being shot, said Patricia Giannone.

"We feel there's a prejudice," said Anthony Murray, the victim's brother.

Mrs. DiBartolo said the family has retained a private investigator and a criminal attorney to help determine what happened. She said Miami police have said it would be nearly two weeks before they could investigate some aspects of the case.

Murray was in Homestead selling recreational vehicles for Gist RV/Auto Sales & Service in Inverness. He had been in Homestead for about 10 days, said Lavern Gist, a company official.

Family members described Murray as a successful, hardworking salesman who had won many awards for his high sales record at car dealerships.

"Miami police have this attitude to get it over fast, but we want the truth," Anthony Murray said. "We want to know what happened to our brother. We want justice."