For couple slain in veterans cemetery, visiting son’s grave was a daily ritual
By Carl Hamilton firstname.lastname@example.org 2 hrs ago 0
U.S. Army veteran Paul Marino and his wife, Lidia, visited the grave of their son, Anthony, at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear almost every day for the past three years. …
The daily graveside visits served as a touchstone for the elderly Elkton, Md., couple – each day was another opportunity to express how deeply they loved Anthony and how heartbreakingly they missed him.
The couple would stand at the grave for 10 minutes or so. Sometimes they left fresh flowers; other times, they simply talked to their deceased son. “Hey, Anthony, Mom and Dad are here,” they would say.
Last week, however, that touching ritual turned tragic, when the Marinos were fatally shot just yards from Anthony’s grave in what appears to be a random act of violence.
Paul, 86, and Lidia, 85, were on the veterans cemetery grounds on the morning of May 8 to visit Anthony’s gravesite, as they had done perhaps 1,000 times before since their youngest son was laid to rest there in 2017.
But were they sufficiently Social Distancing? Walking through a cemetery could appear to endanger hundreds, if photographed with a sufficiently long telephoto lens.
At approximately 10:15 a.m. that day, a gunman randomly shot and killed the couple – sharply contrasting the tranquility of that cemetery. …
“My parents were in their 80s, but they were very healthy and active. They had five or 10 more years of good life left, I’m sure,” Ray said. “I thought they would die from natural causes someday – not be executed by a stranger in a cemetery.”
But they likely had comorbidities such as hypertension, so no big loss (according to numerous paragons of health).
Paul Jr. and Ray have so many questions about how and why their parents were gunned down, but, knowing that this was a random act of violence, they have resigned themselves to the fact that some answers will never come.
“I’ve been trying to figure all this out in my head, but there are some things we are just never going to know,” Ray said.
Delaware State Police officials identified Sheldon C. Francis, 29, of Middletown, Del., as the gunman who inexplicably ended the lives of Paul and Lidia Marino. But as of Thursday, investigators had not released a motive. …
The man who killed the twin brothers’ parents reportedly possessed a scoped rifle at the time but, according to information that DSP investigators provided the family, Francis apparently shot them with a handgun at relatively close range.
Thank God the killer didn’t use one of those scary rifles like rural whites have.
… The twin brothers also are certain that the same chilling reminder will be present every time they come to the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery to visit the gravesites of their parents, as well as that of their younger brother.
“We have to bury mom and dad where they were murdered,” Paul Jr. said. “A cemetery is supposed to be a peaceful and sacred place where you visit your lost loved ones.”