WATERVILLE — Neighbors of Aurele Fecteau say they are relieved someone has been arrested and charged with his murder, but remain horrified he was stabbed to death in his bed by someone whom he likely trusted.

“It’s very disgusting,” said Nancy Morissette, who lives across the street.

Morissette was on her Vose Street lawn Monday looking out over Fecteau’s backyard where he kept a garden and tended to his flowers. She said the idea that someone could do work for Fecteau in his home and then come back to kill him was frightening.

“It’s pretty scary,” she said. “You have somebody do something for you and you don’t even know their history.”

Josh Couture, whose Vose Street back yard abuts Fecteau’s Brooklyn Avenue backyard, was not totally relieved by the arrest of Roland Cummings, 44, of Waterville, who has been charged with Fecteau’s murder.

“I’ll feel safe when time goes by and if there’s proof that it was him,” Couture said. “Then I’ll feel comfortable, but time’s the biggest thing. You never lose that knot in your stomach.”

Meanwhile, across town in the city’s South End Monday, Cummings’ mother, Barbara, was grieving.

“I never thought he would do a thing like that,” she said of her son. “I wonder if someone else was in on it. I see his picture on the TV and I’m crying.”

She stood Monday afternoon on her steamy Gray Street porch and said her son sometimes stayed overnight at her house.

“He slept out here,” she said, motioning to the couch.

Detectives went to the house recently and searched all of it, looking for evidence, she said.

She said she had 10 children, nine of whom are still living, and she has lived on Gray Street for about two years. Before that, she lived in Moscow, near Bingham, for about 17 years, she said. Her son, Roland, she said, told her he did not kill Fecteau, whom he knew through a Fecteau family member.

“He looked at all of us in the face and said he didn’t do it,” she said.

She said the Fecteau family is not angry at her family.

“They don’t blame us; they say it’s not our fault.”

Fecteau’s quiet neighborhood, which is near Waterville Senior High School and sandwiched between the school’s athletic fields, features small homes with trim lawns and well-kept gardens.

Both Morissette and Couture said it is a place where neighbors say “hello” to each other from across the street and look out for each other.

They never expected a murder to occur there and for police to spend days and nights on the scene combing through evidence to try to find the killer.

“I’m just awful glad that it’s all over,” Morissette said.

The murder haunts Couture, who said he wishes he had been more vigilant and noticed something happening at Fecteau’s house.

“There’s no way to describe what it’s like when something like that happens,” he said.

Fecteau’s modest blue home with blue sailboats on its white shutters sat quiet in Monday afternoon’s heat. The lawn was freshly mowed. A large blossoming pink rhododendron grew near a window.

Across Brooklyn Avenue from the house, Marjorie Clifford said she locks her doors and windows, and in that sense, she feels safe.

“It’s an eerie feeling to think that something like that could happen in a neighborhood like this,” she said.

Her husband, Harolyn, said he and his wife have lived on the street 60 years — about the same number of years Fecteau lived there — and they saw him every day but never saw a man such as Cummings there.

Fecteau’s next door neighbor, Dawn Camera-Roberts, was still reeling from his murder. She said she moved into the house with her children in January and quickly became friends with Fecteau.

“I helped him with the flowers, my kids and I. He was happy that we moved here. He was a sweetheart. I loved him. He loved to talk and I loved to listen. It’s very hurtful. Nobody deserves to go that way.”

Camera-Roberts said Fecteau appeared healthy for his age.

“He had a lot of spunk,” she said. “He was of sound mind and loved to tell me stories of his life and his wife. I never thought I’d be mowing the lawn when his murder was taking place.”

She smiled when she recalled her children referred to Fecteau as “Orbal,” as his name sounded like that of the television preacher, Oral Roberts.

“He (Fecteau) and I laughed about it,” she recalled.

Just before driving away in her van, Camera-Roberts said that to think someone could kill Fecteau, and in that way, made her sick to her stomach.

“It’s just a disgrace — he didn’t deserve it,” she said.

Like the Cliffords, Camera-Roberts said police were very thorough and professional during the days and nights they spent in the neighborhood investigating the crime.

“It’s good and encouraging to know that they’re doing their job — and they do it well,” she said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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Twitter: @AmyCalder17