, Salem, MA

Local News

November 14, 2011

Man charged with dad's murder

DANVERS — A Danvers man has been charged with murdering his father in their Auburn Street home.

Stephen Anastasi, 24, of 2 Auburn St. was arrested Saturday afternoon in the death of his father, John Anastasi, 60.

Police are not confirming the cause of death pending an autopsy, said Steve O'Connell, a spokesman for the Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

O'Connell said yesterday that the motive is still under investigation.

Anastasi is scheduled to be arraigned today in Salem District Court on the murder charge.

The 911 call came in from neighbors just before 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Peter and Karen Walters, who live just around the corner from the crime scene, said they saw Stephen Anastasi standing outside their home holding a cat.

"He was walking around with his cat," Peter Walters said.

They believe he stopped near their house because he heard their dogs. When Karen Walters opened the door, Anastasi threw the cat toward her and said, "The aliens are killing people in the neighborhood," Peter Walters said. Anastasi walked into their home and then looked around, saw some wires and said, "Your house is bugged, too," according to Walters.

Walters, concerned for his family's safety, sent his children to their rooms and said, "We've got to get him out of here."

Karen Walters and some other neighbors walked the young man back to his house, intending to talk to his father, Peter Walters said. Instead, they found the father's body on the floor, covered in a blanket.

Walters said he did not notice any blood on Stephen, or on the cat, which hid inside his home for several hours.

Other neighbors, including next-door neighbor Jan Gotts, a former baby sitter for Stephen Anastasi and his sisters, said the address had been the scene of numerous police calls over the years. She described Stephen as having had a difficult upbringing.

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