November 22, 1972 – Madison, WI – Unsolved
Mark Justl was beaten and stomped to death at the Joyce Funeral Home
where he was a
resident employee answering the phone after hours. His body was spotted by a paperboy delivering newspapers through a locked door,
he called police. Linford Smith, another resident employee, was sleeping in the rear quarters.
Some believe Justl walked in on burglars, others think there was more behind it.
Parts of the funeral home were ransacked, and several things were taken, including a bottle of champagne, a brand that was not
widely available in Madison. A man who left town shortly after the murder, and who had given a bottle of the same champagne to a
girl before he left, made a comment to his girlfriend about how he had hurt someone badly and was going to leave town and check
himself into a mental hospital.
Years later Mark’s mother, Genevieve, had a visit from a friend of her dead son. The man told her he believes that his adopted
father, who was then an official in the justice system and is now deceased, ordered the murder. According to police records,
this same man called police in 2004 to say that before Justl’s murder his father sexually assaulted his wife, and Justl threatened
to turn him in. Detectives in the case didn’t buy it, the man had mental health issues and kept changing his story.
Unfortunately there is no evidence left. Genevieve was told that all the evidence was destroyed July 5, 1973. That evidence included
items of clothing, hair samples, cigarette butts, blood, things that with today’s DNA technology might lead police to the killer.
April 5, 1973
Linford Smith, who was cleared of any involvement in Justl’s murder, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the woods
of picnic point.
Mark Justle (28)
Linford R. Smith (28)