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Elderly man shot neighbor in head during argument over victim’s use of leaf blower in his own yard

Ettore Lacchei (Lake County Sheriff's Office)

Ettore Lacchei (Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

A 79-year-old man in Illinois has been arrested for allegedly killing his next-door neighbor during an argument over the victim’s use of a noisy leaf blower in front of his own home. Ettore Lacchei was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for fatally shooting 59-year-old William Martys in the head earlier this month, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, deputies at around 7:35 p.m. on April 12 responded to a report of an unresponsive adult male in the driveway of a residence located in the 40700 block of North Black Oak Avenue in unincorporated Antioch.

The initial 911 call was placed by employees of Lacchei’s construction company who are believed to have arrived at his home just minutes after the shooting, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said Wednesday, according to the Daily Herald.

When deputies arrived at the scene, first responders and medics with the Antioch Fire Department were already at the home conducting life-saving measures on the victim — later identified as Martys. The victim was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy conducted by the Lake County Coroner’s Office the following day confirmed that Martys’ cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.

Following a preliminary investigation, the shooting was determined to be a homicide and the case was turned over to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Major Crime Task Force.

Detectives say they conducted a “comprehensive investigation” into Martys’ death and concluded that Lacchei was the shooter. Police said that Lacchei “had various perceived grievances” with his neighbor that led to the alleged shooting.

“On April 12, 2023, while Martys was utilizing a leaf blower in his yard, he was approached by Lacchei,” the release states. “Lacchei argued with Martys and during the argument Lacchei shot Martys in the head.”

Detectives say they located the firearm that Lacchei “likely” used to shoot Martys, a small-caliber handgun that was allegedly found near Lacchei’s property line.

Investigators on April 25 obtained and executed a search warrant on Lacchei’s home where he was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Lake County Jail in Waukegan.

Lacchei on Wednesday appeared before Judge Theodore Potkonjak who ordered him to remain in custody without bond. He is scheduled to appear in court again on May 25.

Sheriff Covelli on Wednesday also said that confrontations between Lacchei and his neighbors were a regular occurrence.

“We understand from interviewing witnesses that this neighbor had confrontations with many different neighbors that live up and down that street,” Chief Covelli said, per CBS News. “This wasn’t the first time that he was seen with a firearm.”

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart partially blamed the deadly shooting on the lack of gun control laws.

“Once again, easy access to firearms has turned a dispute into a deadly crime,” he said in a statement. “We will support the victims and seek justice in the courtrooms.”

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.