Probe ongoing in deadly attack
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran and his son were savagely stabbed more than a dozen times each by a neighbor who broke into their Assumption Parish home on Memorial Day morning, according to preliminary autopsy results.
The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office, which conducted the autopsies, reported that Mark Massoletti, 52, 173 Felicia St., Bayou L’Ourse, was stabbed 17 times.
His son, Michael Massoletti, 23, who lived with his father, was stabbed 18 times. The coroner found the men died from “sharp trauma injury, stabbing.”
Sheriff’s investigators are probing whether the men were killed with a weapon from the home, which contained a collection of guns, knives and swords, the Assumption Parish sheriff said.
“We have reason to suspect that it is possible that the weapon used to kill the two was a weapon from within the house, but again we have no confirmation at this point,” Sheriff Mike Waguespack said Monday.
He said deputies are still processing evidence from the home in the small community in southern Assumption Parish.
Waguespack said Mark Massoletti was a big collector of swords, knives, other sharp objects, rifles, shotguns and pistols, including Marine-style Ka-Bar knives.
“And several of those items were displayed on the walls, almost like part of the artwork,” Waguespack said.
Sheriff’s deputies have said William S. Powers Jr., 32, who lived at 170 Felicia St., which is across the street from the Massolettis, entered their unlocked home about 4 a.m. May 26 and attacked the elder Massoletti in his bed where he was sleeping with his girlfriend. The son, who was awakened by his father’s girlfriend, grabbed some kind of weapon and tried to stop Powers.
But Powers overwhelmed the younger Massoletti, attacking him before shooting himself, sheriff’s investigators have said. Powers died from a self-inflicted gunshot would to the head and his death has been ruled a suicide, the coroner said.
Waguespack shared a text Monday from the Coroner’s Office that detailed the preliminary autopsy results.
Waguespack said his investigators have not made further progress on Powers’ motive and are waiting on toxicology results from the autopsy, which could take six to eight weeks.
The sheriff has said Powers had been released from Assumption Parish Detention Center in Napoleonville on May 7 after serving a six-month jail sentence following a run-in with another neighbor.
Neighbors told investigators that shortly after Powers was released from jail, the elder Massoletti told Powers that if he stepped past the row of flags in Massoletti’s front yard, Powers was “going to have a problem.”
Variations of the Confederate battle flags and Revolutionary War-era “Don’t Tread on Me” flags ring Massoletti’s home. Some were altered to espouse pride in his Southern heritage or gun ownership. At least one Confederate flag, for example, has an image of an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle on it with the words, “Come and take it.”
Mark Massoletti’s girlfriend and Michael Massoletti’s wife, who was sleeping in the house with her husband, survived the attack.
The girlfriend, who refused to give her name in interviews last week, disputed there was a running disagreement between Mark Massoletti and Powers. She claimed the warning mentioned by the sheriff was Massoletti’s attempt to keep his distance from Powers following Powers’ release from jail.