Burnham Park homicide; Mario Balli found guilty in 2019 shooting

A Milwaukee County jury found Mario Balli guilty on Friday, June 23 in connection with the fatal shooting of 44-year-old Rolando Barrera near Burnham Park in July 2019

Balli was charged with first-degree reckless homicide and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 17.

Case details

According to a criminal complaint, police were dispatched to the area near 33rd and Mitchell on July 16, 2019. An officer was flagged down by a citizen who pointed to an SUV that "appeared to have collided with a fence inside (Burnham) park, and was parked on the baseball field," the complaint says. The officer approached the vehicle and spotted the shooting victim, Barrera, in the driver's seat. He was deceased.

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Police later found the shooting happened behind a home, in an alley north of 33rd and Mitchell – and that Barrera’s vehicle rolled out of the alley and onto the baseball field after the shooting.

During an autopsy of Barrera, plastic bags of cocaine were found in Barrera’s pockets.

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The criminal complaint says a confidential informant told police that Balli admitted to killing Barrera over a drug deal – and that Balli believed Barrera had stolen $100,000 in money meant for buying drugs. Investigators also found Balli’s fingerprints inside Barrera’s SUV.