SPENCER (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - A Spencer man charged with murder in the killing his 88-year-old stepfather has been ordered to undergo mental health evaluation at a state hospital.
A not guilty plea was entered Thursday for 37-year-old Jason Masiello, who's accused of slicing his stepfather's throat, wrapping him in plastic and tucking the body into a crawl space beneath their home.
The Telegram & Gazette reports that Masiello told the judge he's "being subliminally altered." Masiello was arrested soon after police arrived at the family home and found 88-year-old Michael Iagallo dead shortly before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Police were responding to a call from the suspect's mother, Nancy Iagallo.
Police responded to 35 Pine Acres Drive around 11:30 a.m. for a death investigation. Upon arrival, Massachusetts State Police located Michael Iagallo's body wrapped in plastic and a blanket and stuffed in a crawl space underneath the residence.
According to authorities, Nancy Iagallo confronted Jason Masiello about her husband's whereabouts. Based on Masiello's response or lack thereof, Nancy then contacted authorities.
"Any time you have a homicide, it is a troubling crime. This one is very troubling. Spencer is a nice town, a small town," Worcester Country District Attorney Joseph Early said.
Prosecutors did not disclose a motive for the killing.
Neighbors confirmed that the area near Thompson Pond is typically as quiet as can be. They also said that the victim and his wife own the home on Pine Acres Drive, but only spend their summers in Spencer and then winter in Florida.
Tim Lynch, one of the victim's neighbors, told FOX 25's Bob Ward that he did not know the family well, but he does know that the murder suspect has been arrested in the past.
Masiello is unemployed and lives in Spencer year-round.
"I'm taken aback a little bit that we could have something like this in Spencer, in the nice little backwoods bucolic area. But it does happen. It can happen anywhere," Barbara Thompson, a neighbor, said of the horrific crime.
An autopsy is scheduled to determine a cause of death.
It was not clear if Masiello had a lawyer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.