SEATTLE - A judge on Thursday extended the deadline for prosecutors to decide whether they will seek the death penalty against a woman charged with killing six members of her own family in Carnation on Christmas Eve.
King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg now has until September 22nd to decide whether Michele Anderson, 29, will face the death penalty. The original deadline had been set for August 4th.
Anderson has pleaded not guilty to six counts of first-degree murder. Police say Anderson and her boyfriend Joseph Mcenroe have confessed that they shot and killed Anderson's parents, her brother, his wife and two kids last Christmas Eve in Carnation.
Earlier this year, Anderson publicly expressed her desire to receive the death penalty. Her court-appointed attorneys wouldn't let her pursue it, but during a July 15 hearing a judge agreed to dismiss her defense team. On Thursday, the judge gave an August 14th deadline for Anderson to receive new legal counsel.
Anderson told a local TV station she is in her right mind and "taking responsibility" for her actions. Meanwhile, the victims' grandson said he doesn't want his aunt to get the death penalty, calling it "the easy way out."
"I don't really believe in the death penalty in most cases, especially this one," said Ben Anderson. "It seems that somebody who'd commit what they committed, they just sit in prison for a few years and get the death penalty, is pretty easy. People like her really need to sit in there and think about what they did."
The crime shocked the small town of Carnation and made national headlines. Prosecutors say Anderson and McEnroe went to the rural home on Christmas Eve and shot and killed Anderson's parents, Wayne, 60, and Judith Anderson, 61, her brother Scott and his wife Erica, both 32, and her brother's two young children, 5-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Nathan.
Court documents say Michele Anderson told police she was tired of everyone stepping on her.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Conant asked Anderson and McEnroe whether they understood each charge against them. The defendants answered yes in barely audible voices, so quietly that Conant at one point said to Michele Anderson, whose long brown hair hung down in front of her face, "I'm sorry, you'll have to answer out loud."
Their lawyers entered the pleas of not guilty on their behalf.
Family members of the victims and friends sat in the courtroom separated from the defendants by a pane of glass. They held each other and wept.
Anderson and McEnroe were allowed to appear in street clothes and out of handcuffs because a judge felt to do otherwise would be prejudicial to a jury.
Jail guards were upset after the judge had ruled that the suspects could wear street clothes and go without handcuffs in the courtroom. The judge on Thursday reiterated the ruling to not tape or show the defendants in handcuffs or in chains.