SALEM — Marvin Joseph shocked early morning commuters Thursday by running naked on Canal Street in the freezing cold. Twenty-four hours later, he was dead.
Joseph, 23, of 143 Canal St., died yesterday morning after suffering severe head injuries when he apparently jumped off a third-floor porch behind his building on Thursday night, police said.
Joseph had been arrested Thursday morning after several people saw him walking naked around 6 a.m. near Crosby's supermarket.
A court psychologist deemed him competent to appear in court, and after being arraigned, Joseph was released on his own recognizance. Judge Richard Mori expressed concern and warned him to stay out of trouble and to report to a probation officer once a week.
At 8:11 that evening, police got a call from Joseph's roommate, who said Joseph was exhibiting bizarre behavior, performing repeated backflips off his roommate's bed onto his head.
"He kept telling his roommate he could fly," Detective William Jennings said.
The roommate, who had known Joseph for four years and lived with him for more than one year, attempted to get Joseph out of the apartment for help, police said. But after a struggle, the roommate fled for help and called 911. The roommate had never seen such behavior before, police said.
Joseph "went up to the third floor and jumped off the porch," Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said.
Patrolman Brian St. Pierre went to the apartment, found the front door broken open, went to the rear porch and looked out. He saw a "naked black man lying in a prone position in the leaves," Jennings said.
Jennings said Joseph suffered a closed head fracture and was taken to Salem Hospital and later flown to Boston.
He was pronounced dead yesterday at 6:17 a.m. at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Prosniewski said.