Victim in Saugus shooting was defendant in 1999 ‘house of horrors’ incident

Frank Trombetta was shot and killed Friday by his brother-in-law, who then apparently took his own life, according to the Essex D.A.

Authorities investigating a fatal shooting at a Saugus gas station last week have identified two brothers-in-law as the pair involved in the incident — including one who made headlines in 1999 in the notorious “house of horrors” case involving a squalid Everett home.

The victim in last week’s shooting, Frank Trombetta, was working at the 2 Essex Street gas station on Friday afternoon when he was shot by his brother-in-law and suffered serious gunshot wounds, the Essex District Attorney’s office said

Police reportedly transported Trombetta to the Massachusetts General Hospital where he died from his injuries.

The district attorney identified the suspect as William McFeely, who reportedly fled the gas station in a 2016 white Mini Cooper.

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McFeely was found dead in his car, parked outside the Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, after an apparent suicide.

Both McFeely and Trombetta were 63 years old, from Everett, and shared a long history together. 

In 1999, Trombetta was at the center of a highly publicized case in which he was charged with domestic assault and battery. 

When police investigated the alleged assault, they were led to an Everett apartment littered with animal feces, cockroaches, and home to five children aged 22 months to 13 years who were found partly clothed and hiding in the basement, the Boston Globe reported. 

Trombetta’s house was dubbed a “house of horrors” in subsequent media reports on the case. 

The Globe reported that the state Department of Social Services temporarily took the children into custody before McFeely and his wife, Susan, took over the care of some of the children.

“I would like to see my brother-in-law and sister-in-law come to some resolution where they could take responsibility for their family and do the right thing by their kids,” McFeely told reporters at the time. “The two of them have some problems to overcome, but they could be valuable contributors to a family.”

Now, decades later, state detectives and Saugus police, alongside the district attorney’s office, continue to investigate the incident at the Mobil gas station between the two men.

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No further details have been released. 

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