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Convicted murderer Michael Masse moving into Citrus County neighborhood

6:42 PM, Oct 1, 2013   |    comments
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Lecanto, FL -- Michael Masse killed a 10-year-old boy when he was 15.

Newspaper reports say he stabbed and strangled the boy in Fort Lauderdale on June 2, 1980. Psychiatrists said at the time Masse was mentally disturbed. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to nearly 75 years in prison.

Now 33 years later, Masse is being released from prison and moving into a Citrus County neighborhood. Many residents living there are not happy about it.

"I don't think he belongs in a neighborhood with children, sorry," said Marta Riopelle.

"I am scared," added Sharon Barbee, who lives just a few doors down from where Masse will be living.

The sheriff's office said Masse will be released sometime this week and will move in with his mother at 6515 S. Esmeralda Terrace in Lecanto.

A woman at the home told 10 News on Tuesday, "Please don't come here." 

"Don't waste your time," she added, "I'm not coming to talk with you."

Masse has served less than half of his nearly 75-year sentence, but is being released on good behavior.

Sheriff's office spokesperson Lindsay Blair said Masse is not on probation and is not a registered sex offender so he has no restrictions. In other words, he is free to live and go where he wants. Blair added the sheriff's office sent out a Code Red alert to residents living near Masse's new home this week so they would be aware of their new neighbor.

"God forbid, something does happen and we didn't put this out, we would be having a completely different conversation, so we wanted to make sure the residents knew what  was going on," Blair said.

Riopelle said she is so disturbed by the news that she and her husband have decided to buy a gun.

"We're going to go get our permit and get a gun, because now you don't know if you're going to be safe getting out of your car at 11, 11:30 at night."

While expressing concern about Masse moving in, Barbee did say she feels some sympathy for the 48-year-old's mom.

"Yes, yes I do hope people understand that she didn't do anything and she probably wants help for her son."

But Barbee said that doesn't mean she's not troubled by her new neighbor.

"If he was mentally disturbed then, I don't think it gets any better being locked up in prison for years," Barbee said.

Officials say 220 kids live within two miles of Masse's new home. A bus stop was also located in front of the house, but school officials said on Tuesday it would be moved, along with two others, out of an abundance of caution.

The sheriff's office said it will also meet with Masse at least once a month to see how he is adjusting to life outside of prison.

"We don't want him to be convicted again by any means. But it's one of those cases where we needed to get the message out," Blain said about the alert.

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