A petty criminal answered his door to a man who challenged him to a fight over a woman, before knifing him in the chest.
Gardai are today expected to launch a murder probe over the brutal stabbing of Jason Ryan (28), from Ferndale, Clonard, Wexford town.
It is understood that gardai are following a definite line of inquiry and are expected to make an arrest shortly.
The main suspect, who was known to Mr Ryan, is a violent criminal who previously spent time in jail for another serious attack. It is understood the pair were involved in a dispute over a woman.
Officers already had a warrant in place for the suspect relating to robbery offences. He was at large in the county at the time when Mr Ryan was knifed to death in the early hours of yesterday morning. It is understood a third man may also have been present at the scene. Mr Ryan has more than 50 previous convictions, mostly for larceny, theft and criminal damage.
He answered the door of the rented apartment where he was living in Hollyville Heights just after midnight yesterday.
Gardai confirmed that an altercation took place on the doorstep after Mr Ryan was confronted by at least one man who wielded a baton.
The crime scene indicated that the men fought outside the victim's home before the row moved away from the apartment. Mr Ryan was then stabbed a number of times in the chest before he collapsed outside another house in Hollyville Heights.
Emergency services rushed Mr Ryan to Wexford General Hospital but he later died from his injuries.
Mr Ryan's family rushed to his bedside before he was pronounced dead. Yesterday, the dead man's mother, brother and two sisters appealed for privacy to grieve.
State pathologist Marie Cassidy conducted a post-mortem at Waterford Regional Hospital last night, which was expected to conclude that the victim died from stab wounds.
Members of the garda technical team sealed off areas within the estate yesterday, while shocked residents were evacuated from nearby apartments to preserve the crime scene.
A second crime scene was sealed off at a house a short distance away at Talbot Green. A garda remained on patrol outside the property late last night.
One local man, who did not want to be named, said neighbours were "shocked" by what had happened.
Wexford mayor Davy Hynes expressed "horror" at the killing. "I'd like to offer my condolences to the family," he said, before adding that he hoped "someone will be apprehended soon".
Wexford councillor George Lawlor said Hollyville was a "very peaceful" estate with "law-abiding citizens". "Shocking crimes like this have become too common -- certainly Wexford is not untouched when it comes to this," he said.
Mr Ryan had led a life of crime since he left school at the age of 13, and received his first custodial sentence when he was still a teenager.
A court previously heard how he suffered from problems with alcohol and drugs. And last October it was reported that two women were "fighting over him" outside Wexford District Court.