Freedom – July 29, 2008 – “Dateline NBC” will splash a local crime story across national TV, hauling its cameras to a Massachusetts courtroom and the burned-out Freedom lakeside home of a man accused of gunning down a romantic rival two years ago. The Intervale Road home of alleged gunman Sean Fitzpatrick was torched after he allegedly shot 39-year-old Michael Zammitti Jr. and apparent innocent bystander Chester Roberts, 51, point blank with a shotgun at Zammitti’s Wakefield, Mass. concrete firm.
Trial for the two March 2006 murders for Fitzpatrick, who was arrested at his job in Madison, opened Monday in Middlesex (Mass.) Superior Court. Fitzpatrick, 49, was allegedly trying to re-ignite a cooled affair with Zammitti’s wife, Michelle, who prosecutors say ultimately turned him down.
Two generations of Zammittis vacationed at a family compound near Fitzgerald’s home on Ossipee Lake, a destination where he and the Zammitti family had mixed as friends for years. The fire marshal ruled arson after Fitzpatrick’s house burned in February of 2007, in direct sight of a house owned by grieving father Michael Zammitti Sr. Authorities said father and son had no dangerous enemies and were not linked to criminal activity. No suspect was named, so charges never materialized.
Captivated by the tragedy of a neighborhood love triangle and intriguing forensic evidence, including allegedly saliva pulled off the seal of envelopes allegedly licked by the killer, “Dateline NBC” will dedicate an hour to the crime yarn. Court TV is also covering the case.
It will be “Dateline’s” second recent Boston-area visit, with producers having interviewed Boston Herald reporters in an on-air spot about the arrest of recently convicted suburban wife-and-baby-killer Neil Entwistle. Camera crews and Dateline producers are expected to spend time around Freedom and the lake feeling out the community.
Before he allegedly shot Zammitti and Roberts, a longtime Zammitti employee who was hit in the back as he tried to flee, prosecutors say Fitzpatrick mailed a ripped-from-Hollywood note with letters cut out from newspapers reading: “Notice — Close now or lose more family,” according to Middlesex district attorney’s office evidence.
Prosecutors said the “threatening” message, saliva from which they linked to a “sympathy” letter sent to Michelle Zammitti, was a ruse meant to mislead authorities into believing the murder was business-related. Moreover, local police could be called to testify about an unusual spate of burglaries prosecutors say Fitzpatrick carried out to throw police off his scent.
Since the killings, the Zammittis secured a $2.5 million attachment on Fitzpatrick’s property as they pursued a wrongful death suit last year. Zammitti Sr., was the administrator of his son’s estate, the suit says. Zammitti owned Allstate Concrete Pumping.
Fitzpatrick sold property on the street to the family in 1993, and the Zammitti family has moved real estate amongst family members and a trust, county real estate records show.
The salacious court case kicked off Monday in Middlesex District Court with the selection of a jury that the district attorney’s office estimated could take two days. The Zammittis and local police are expected to testify after the trial opens later in the week. It is not known when the “Dateline NBC” piece will air.