Judge Granted $2.5 Million Lien on Torched Lake House

Freedom — February 9, 2007 — The parents of slain Freedom vacation home owner Michael Zammitti Jr. successfully asked a judge last year to place a $2.5 million attachment on the home of their son’s accused killer, Sean Fitzpatrick, warning the court that Fitzpatrick, a double murder suspect sitting in jail, could be expected to hide his assets.

The petition, part of a civil suit filed here, came months before one of those assets, Fitzpatrick’s home at 66 Intervale Ave., would burn to the ground on Monday. The fire, just across the street from the Zammitti’s own family vacation property, has been ruled an arson. But no suspects have been named, and authorities have appealed to the public for information.

In legal terms, an attachment is a lien on a property or asset to hold it to pay or satisfy a final judgment.

The money connection between the victim’s family and the man accused of shooting Zammitti is revealed in a 2006 wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family, and to a degree, in a 1993 land transaction, in which the Zammittis bought a parcel of land from Fitzpatrick. Authorities would not say how these facts, gleaned from deeds and court papers in Carroll County, factor into investigations that were being carried out by Freedom police, the state fire marshal’s office and the Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney’s office.

Massachusetts prosecutors say Fitzpatrick shot Zammitti Jr. in the head at the Zammitti family’s concrete company in Wakefield, Mass., last March out of a desire to romance Zammitti’s wife, Michelle. A part-time truck driver who witnessed the bloodshed, Chester Roberts, was shot in the back as Roberts attempted to flee, prosecutors said.

The wrongful death suit, filed in the wake of the shooting, included a $2.5 million attachment on real estate, cars and bank accounts granted by a judge. The suit is among the last of a series of land-related documents filed here by Zammitti family, county records show.

The Zammitti petition to attach Fitzpatrick’s assets warned a judge that Fitzpatrick should not be forewarned about the petition because he would try to “convey, dissipate, conceal or otherwise hide any and all property” from the courts. The Zammittis’ North Conway attorney Dennis Morgan could not be reached Thursday.

Just across the street from the Fitzpatrick house’s burned foundation, the Zammitti family’s luxurious summer home remained vacant Thursday morning. Footsteps dotted with detritus from the blaze that leveled Fitzpatrick’s house crisscrossed the Zammittis’ yard. Trails led from the street near the arson site to Zammittis’ heating fuel tank, and several tracks ran up to an enormous barn on a large sweeping side yard. The snow-crusted steps were littered with charred bits of wood and other scorched materials, apparently left by boots, fresh from the nearby crime scene where an investigation opened Tuesday.

Freedom chief of police Josh Shackford said emergency responders had walked the Zammittis’ yard to make sure heat and power had been turned back on after the fire next door was put out.

In recent decades, the Zammittis had made a series of real estate transactions in the area, including some moving property between individual family members and a family trust, of which Zammitti Jr. had an interest. His father is the administrator of his son’s estate, the Zammitti suit says.

Zammitti Jr. co-owned a concrete firm with his father, Michael Sr. It was there, at the Wakefield, Mass. headquarters of Allstate Concrete Pumping, that authorities say Fitzpatrick executed Zammitti Jr. and Roberts.

Authorities have said Fitzpatrick, who reportedly stole a car and traveled from Freedom to Mass., shot Zammitti in order to enter into an affair with his wife of 10 years, Michelle, but that such a romance did not materialize. The married couple had three children. Principle addresses of the Zammittis were listed in Wakefield, Mass. Fitzpatrick was arrested where he worked in Madison.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office on Thursday declined to comment on relationships within the family, or how they have withstood the shocking series of events. Nor would an office spokesperson say whether Fitzpatrick was being questioned in the arson case. He is due next in a Massachusetts court for a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 14, according to the spokesperson. Freedom police would not comment on an ongoing investigation.

In the legal papers filed in Carroll County Superior Court, and in the county deeds registry, the Zammittis have echoed charges filed by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office that Fitzpatrick drove to Allstate Concrete and shot Zammitti Jr. in cold blood at his desk. The Zammitti suit says Fitzpatrick shot the son twice with a shotgun.

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