Illinois man using leaf blower allegedly shot, killed by neighbor in his driveway

Ettore Lacchei, 79, was arrested Tuesday after a two-week investigation.

April 28, 2023, 6:10 PM

An Illinois man using a leaf blower on his property was allegedly shot and killed by his neighbor this month, becoming the latest in a string of shooting victims purportedly targeted while doing everyday tasks.

William Martys was found dead in his Antioch Township driveway around 7:35 p.m. on April 12 with a gunshot wound to his head, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office. He was declared dead at a local hospital.

After an investigation, authorities on Tuesday arrested Martys' 79-year-old neighbor, Ettore Lacchei, who they say allegedly approached Martys and began arguing with him. During the dispute, Lacchei allegedly shot and killed Martys, according to police.

"Our condolences go out to the family and friends of William Martys, who was senselessly murdered," said Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg. "The members of the sheriff's office are relentless when it comes to seeking justice for victims. The members of our Criminal Investigations Division have been working around the clock to bring Mr. Martys' murderer to justice, and I am happy Mr. Martys' family can begin the closure and healing process."

Lacchei is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is being held without bond in the county jail. Chris Covelli, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said, "He hasn't been arraigned, so no plea yet."

A lawyer for Lacchei has not responded to ABC News' request for comment.

PHOTO: Ettore Lacchei was arrested for shooting William Martys in his driveway around 7:35 p.m. on April 12 with a gunshot wound to his head.
Ettore Lacchei was arrested for shooting William Martys in his driveway around 7:35 p.m. on April 12 with a gunshot wound to his head.
Lake County Sheriff's Office

In a press release, the sheriff's department said that Lacchei had "various perceived grievances" with Martys.

Lacchei had apparently developed a reputation in the small northern Illinois community as a hot-headed neighbor who sometimes escalated arguments by brandishing firearms, according to Covelli.

"Witnesses we spoke to on the street said it was very common for him to get into disputes with neighbors," Covelli told ABC News, adding, "He has been alleged to pull a firearm on victims."

A neighbor told Chicago ABC station WLS that he had seen Lacchei pull a gun on Martys once before.

"No one deserves anything like that, and it's just kind of crazy to think that someone can just break like that over just a simple argument that can be fixed just talking," said the neighbor, JR McCarty.

Investigators found what they alleged could be a murder weapon near Lacchei's property line, the sheriff's office said.

The incident was "not at all" a stand-your-ground instance, said Covelli, pointing out that paramedics discovered Martys on his own property.

Martys' daughter, Jacquelyn Martys, told The Washington Post that the family had no comment on her father's death.

"We are trying to deal with the tremendous loss," she said.

An obituary for her father describes him as a devoted family member and friend who "lived his life in the mindset of happy."

"He did not hate many things, but he did hate stupid people who couldn't open their minds to new thoughts and ideas in life," it read.

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