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Police seek help solving 1986 killing

Published On: Apr 10 2013 06:58:14 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 10 2013 07:07:36 PM CDT

File photo

An image of Open Pantry Food Mart in 1986, where Andrew Nehmer was stabbed to death.


The Town of Madison Police Department and state Department of Justice believe someone has valuable information the agencies need to solve a 1986 cold case, and officials are hoping a $5,000 reward will help.

The reward was offered by Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin at a news conference Wednesday.

Andrew M. Nehmer was stabbed to death while working at the Open Pantry Food Mart at 2201 S. Park St. His body was found April 22, 1986.

Twenty-seven years later, a lot on the law enforcement side has changed: DNA technology, investigators working the case and the business where the killing took place; the Open Pantry Food Mart is now a 7-Eleven and gas station.

"The memories of witnesses, how the other facts related to an event that takes place at a certain point in time gets more and more difficult to piece back together, in a way that can be brought into a court and justice can be sought," said Dave Matthews, administrator at the Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation Cold Case Unit.

Nehmer's stepfather, mother and brother were at the conference but declined to comment.

Town of Madison police and the state DOJ have DNA samples from the scene and people of interest, including a man named Donald Braxton. However, DNA technology is limited and can only be used to include or exclude people, and detectives said they need more information.

"It's safe to say Donald's certainly a person of interest in this case,” said Detective David Bongiovani of the Town of Madison PD. “There's times where investigators are comfortable with seeking an arrest warrant but we're not the people prosecuting the case. The people that do sometimes require a little bit more and that's what we're going after."

Braxton is a former Madison resident who now lives in Colorado.

Bongiovani said the cold case team needs a little bit more information, which is why he reached out to Open Pantry Food Mart.

"We're looking for people who are willing to come forward now that may not have been willing to come forward 27 years ago," Town of Madison Police Chief Scott Gregory said.

"I know who knows, who has information that would be pretty pertinent to this investigation," Bongiovani said. “[That person] just won't give it to us.”

The Wisconsin DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Cold Case Unit is working with the Town of Madison Police Department on the case.

Police asked anyone with information to contact the department at 608-210-7262 (after hours at 608-661-8477).

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