Michele Anderson was found guilty this past Friday of killing her family on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve of 2007, the Anderson family was getting ready to get together for a little family gathering.
Wayne Anderson, 60, and Judy Anderson, 61, were happy to see their daughter, Michele, and her boyfriend, James McEnroe. The couple lived on the land belonging to the Anderson parents, but it was still a special day.
Not long after Michele and James arrived, the shooting began. According to the prosecutor’s case, the couple shot Wayne and Judy Anderson then dragged them into a shed to hide the bodies. The couple then spent a while cleaning up the blood, until Michele’s brother arrived.
Scott Anderson, 32, brought his family with him: his high school sweetheart and wife, Erica Anderson, 32, and their two children, Nathan Anderson, 3, and Olivia Anderson, 5. Scott and his family didn’t immediately know anything was wrong, however, and remained casual. The prosecutor, Scott O’Toole, told the jury that Scott even went to go sit in his normal spot while everyone got settled, reported the Seattle Times.
Michele and James were still armed with their handguns and, once everyone was in place, began their shooting spree again.
Scott was the first one killed. Erica managed to get to a phone and call the police, but the call was disconnected before she could request help. Although police responded anyway, Michele had time to lock the front gate, forcing the officers to turn back.
According to O’Toole, Erica was still alive when Michele and James shot her children. He told the jury that Nathan had died in his mother’s arms before she too was shot, reported Seattlepi.
In 2015, James McEnroe was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison after the jury refused to issue a death sentence. After the conviction, the prosecutor removed the threat of a death sentence from Michele Anderson. After being found guilty on Friday, Anderson is also looking at a life sentence when her sentencing date is scheduled.
Pam Mantle, the mother of Erica Anderson, spoke to the Seattle Times after the verdict was read.
“I wished [Michele Anderson] had had to face the death penalty because I wanted her to feel the terror of losing her life,” she said. “On the other hand, this worked and she’s not going to see sunshine.”
She explained to the publication that she was haunted by the idea that the people she loved had “spent the last 15 minutes of their lives in complete and utter terror of those two horrible people.”
The jury of seven women and five men took roughly a day and a half to issue the guilty verdict. They also issued special verdicts according to the Seattle Times: “the deaths were part of a common scheme or plan and that three of the victims — Anderson’s sister-in-law, niece and nephew — were killed to eliminate witnesses.”
The special verdicts will have some impact on the sentence handed to Michele Anderson.
Michele told detectives that James McEnroe killed Erica and the two young children at her request. She explained it by saying she didn’t want the kids to live with memories of the massacre and she wanted to prevent any witnesses from coming forward.
Defense attorneys working with Michele Anderson had an exceptionally difficult time doing their jobs because she was uncooperative and unable to assist in her own defense. According to the defense, Anderson refused to be evaluated, otherwise they might have been able to go for an insanity plea.
Michele Anderson is being held, without bail, while her sentencing date is being set.
[Photo by The King County Prosecutor’s Office]