King County Superior Court Judge denied a defense attorney's request to give a mass murder suspect television, radio and an additional hour-a-day outside her jail cell.
Attorneys say having those items may give Michele Anderson a better mental state to assist in her own defense.
Anderson did not make the request herself.
Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell said the court can't fix the problem if Anderson has rejected offers to get more sensory stimulation by joining the general prison population.
"It has more to do with Ms. Anderson's volitional choices of whether or not she wants to cooperate with counsel,” said Ramsdell.
Anderson and her former boyfriend, Joseph McEnroe, are charged with killing six members of Anderson's family on Christmas Eve, 2007.
Wendy Wheat-McCoy has never spoken publicly about the murders of her family members, but she feels she can't keep quiet about this.
“It's outrageous. It's been devastating to our entire family,” she said Monday. “How do you even comprehend the whole thing?”
Michele Anderson, on trial with her boyfriend for allegedly killing six members of her family, including two children, wants special treatment at the King County Jail. Among the requests, a radio, television and two hours outside her cell every day.
“Poor Michele,” said an incredulous Wheat-McCoy. “Why should she be entitled to have anything other than what other people in the jail have? She's no special person just because she killed three generations of her own family!”
Anderson is currently in solitary confinement at the jail. She leaves her cell for one hour per day. A defense team doctor, however, argues that solitary confinement is dangerous for Anderson, because she is mentally ill.
In testimony to Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell, Dr. Mark Cunningham said Anderson’s "conditions of confinement represent a deprivation of critically important interpersonal, sensory, and cognitive stimuli that are essential to maintaining psychological equilibrium and health." He added, ““…conditions of solitary, restricted, stimulus-deprived environments adversely affect the psychological functioning of human beings in significant ways.”
However, court documents obtained by KING 5 News indicate Dr. Cunningham hasn't actually seen Michele Anderson for five years.
Prosecutor Scott O’Toole countered by saying the doctor’s statements, “represent the most harmful aspects of ‘expert’ testimony: statements without foundation that are intended only to advocate a position, rather than assist the court in making the correct decision.”
Calls to Anderson’s attorney were not returned by news time.
For Wheat-McCoy and the rest of the family, it's one more delay in a case that has dragged on almost six years and cost taxpayers around six-million dollars. Wheat-McCoy, however, said she would be okay with allowing Michele Anderson one small accommodation.
“Give her a Bible. That's my answer.”