A Juror’s Plight



DAY 23

February 25, 2016



Crime Scene Reconstruction specialist Ross Gardner lays the foundation in the Carnation murders.

Crime Scene Reconstruction specialist Ross Gardner lays the foundation in the Carnation murders.

Detective Scott Tompkins took the witness stand, wearing a charcoal gray suit, light-gray shirt and a silver and black striped tie.  He smiled at the jurors as he sat down while Judge Ramsdell advised him that he was still under oath.

“Welcome back, old friend,” Scott said, smiling. He was immaculately dressed in a black suit, white shirt with a blue and red patterned tie. “Detective Tompkins, if I may remind us where we were at when we last spoke, we had talked about Joseph McEnroe and Michele Anderson returning to the scene.  At some point, we heard a lengthy statement from her.  If I can, I have just a few questions to cover.  We did not get a chance to speak about the three shell casings found from the .357 recovered from the Stillaguamish.  Did you have the three casings checked for latent fingerprints?”

“Yes,” Tompkins answered.  His hands were folded comfortably in his lap.

“Were the casings the only items that you checked for prints?” Scott asked.

Tompkins turned toward the jurors.  “Actually, we tested for latent prints throughout the residences in Carnation.  We looked at the telephone, the interiors, the shell casings we spoke of, and, oh, the bullet found underneath Scott Anderson.”

“Were you able to recover anything of value?”

“The bullets had no recoverable prints.  The interior had prints but there was nothing of value since they were the same prints, as we would have expected in the household.  They just did not give us any significant information,” Tompkins explained.

Scott O’Toole thanked his witness and took a seat in the front row of the gallery behind the defense table.

Colleen O’Connor stood up behind the defense table.  She was wearing a light lime-green colored dress suit with a beige blouse.  “As the lead detective, you spoke to all of the witnesses, didn’t you?”

“For the most part I did,” he answered.

“You interviewed Michele Anderson, as well?”

“I did.”

“You also tracked and reviewed all of the evidence?” she asked.

The Detective nodded his head.  “Over the years, I believe I have.”

“Did you complete a Certificate of Probable Cause in this case?”


Colleen looked down at a stack of large three-ring binders that were open in front of her.  She licked her index finger and turned some pages slowly.  Finally, she looked up.  “Regarding the guns that were purchased, do you agree that Joseph McEnroe purchased his gun in December of 2003 and Michele Anderson purchased hers in May of 2004?”

“I am aware of that.”

“We saw a video of the day when Joseph and Michele arrived on the scene.  Who was the chaplain at the scene?”

Scott Tompkins pondered it for a moment.  “I remember him being there.  He was wearing a red jacket.  Although I did not call him, it is pretty traditional for us to dispatch one to death scenes.”

“Did you give Michele Anderson an opportunity to speak with a chaplain?”

“No,” Tompkins responded. “Not that I recall.”

“You also went into Michele Anderson’s trailer on the property, didn’t you?” O’Connor asked.


“Would you agree that the residence was filthy?”

He nodded his head.  “I would.”

“There was garbage on the floors?”

Tompkins agreed again.

“Food was left out?” O’Connor asked.


“Did you see a dead bird in the trailer?” she asked.

Jurors would notice that this was the third time a bird had been brought up over the last six weeks.

“Actually, I did not.  I heard it being discussed amongst a couple of the investigators but I personally did not see it,” Tompkins recalled.

“Going back to your interview with her, you did say that she was timid during the interview, didn’t you?”

“She began as timid, as I remember.”

“You said she was rambling at times, didn’t you?” O’Connor asked.

“She did get to rambling.”

“She was apologetic?”

Tompkins agreed.

“Would you say she was cooperative?” Colleen pursued.

He agreed again.

“Let’s go back to when you first arrived on the scene in Carnation.  Didn’t you say that you thought early on that you were going to give a death notification?  Did you give the notification to Michele Anderson?”

“I did not,” Tompkins answered casually.

“She was sobbing when she confessed, wasn’t she?”

“At times, she was.”

Colleen O’Connor turned some pages on the files in front of her.  She looked back at the witness.  “Now, Michele Anderson told you she fired at Wayne Anderson and missed.  She said that Joseph McEnroe then shot Wayne and Judy.  Isn’t that right?”


“Michele Anderson also told you that she didn’t want to do this, didn’t she?”


“She said she argued with Scott and he came at her.  Is that correct?”

“That’s what she said,” Tompkins responded.

“She shot Scott?”


“She told you she was afraid that he was going to hurt her?”

“I recall her saying that.”

“Did she also say that Joseph McEnroe shot Wayne?”

The Detective cocked his head.  “I do not remember that.”

Colleen O’Connor directed him to a page in the confession transcript.  “Doesn’t it read, ‘Yes, we both shot my dad.  I shot him and it hit him.’  Do you see that?”

“Yes,” Tompkins answered.

“Would it be fair to say that Michele Anderson took responsibility for the murders during your interview?”

“I suppose she did at some point.  There was a lot of back and forth on her story.”

“She talked about her mother slandering her, didn’t she?” O’Connor asked.


“She recalled Wayne being abusive to her mother?”

“She said that.”

Again, Colleen O’Connor paused and looked through her three-ring binder.  She looked from one book to the next while the Court watched her silently.  She looked up at the witness.  “She also said she gets paranoid and crazy.  Do you recall that?”

“I do,” Tompkins answered patiently.

“And she said everyone is against her, including Scott?” she stated as a question.


“She also said that the crime was not premeditated.  She had just freaked out.  Do you remember that?”

“I heard her say that,” Tompkins responded.

“She began crying when she admitted to the crimes, didn’t she?”


“She stated she wasn’t planning to shoot?”


“And she told you she had depression.  You recall that, don’t you?”

Tompkins nodded his head.  “Yes.”

Once again, O’Connor searched through her legal files.  “Do you have any information on a will?”

The Detective frowned.  “No.  I cannot say I recall a will.”

“Thank you,” O’Connor said as she sat down.  “Nothing further.”

Scott O’Toole wasted no time as he walked back to the front of the courtroom from his seat in the gallery.  He smiled at the witness and laid his legal pad down on the rail in front of him.

The jurors would have been excited.  It had been the longest stretch of argument from the defense since the start of the trial.  I was pretty sure that many did not take a liking to some of the innuendos made by O’Connor.  This would be their first true joust and they would have been eager to hear the Prosecution’s follow-up.

The jurors’ faces, however, would remain stoic and stone-faced.

“Do you recall that the defendant said that she and Joseph McEnroe entered the residence armed with their weapons fully loaded?”

“I recall that.”

“Do you remember her saying that she killed them all over stupid money and said she should not have done it?” O’Toole asked.

“She spoke of money on a number of occasions throughout the interview,” Tompkins conceded.

“Was she ever able to explain why the only wound on her was a nick on her finger while Scott Anderson weighed in at one-hundred and seventy pounds when she says he attacked her?”

“No.  She never explained it.”

Scott turned a page on his legal pad.  He marked something with his pen.  “Why is a chaplain called to a scene?”

“Typically, he’s there to help console the family.”

“Would you offer a chaplain to someone who was suspected of murdering their own family?” Scott asked.  His voice was calm but the words would sizzle in many jurors’ heads.

“I would not expect to do that in this situation,” Tompkins replied.

“Why would you choose not to give a death notification in this case?”

“Quite frankly, she had turned into a suspect with her confession.”

O’Toole nodded his head in agreement.  “She turned herself in at 11:18 AM.  How long did it take for her to confess?”

Tompkins thought about it a moment.  “It took a while.  I think it was thirty-nine pages into the interview before she changed her story into a confession.”

“So, she lied to you for thirty-nine pages, didn’t she?” O’Toole asked aggressively.

“Yes,” Tompkins answered.  “You could say that.”

“Was she truthful after that?”

“It went back and forth.  I wouldn’t say she was completely truthful.”

“At the end of the interview, on page 111,” Scott directed, “she said she was sorry.  She also signed the document saying everything she had stated was true and correct.  Do you recall that?”

Tompkins looked up from the file he had on his lap.  “She signed it saying it was one-hundred percent correct.”

“And, when she admitted to killing her whole family, what did she say she was upset about?”

“On a number of occasions, she said she was upset about paying rent and not getting her money from her brother, Scott.  Frequently, she mentioned money as her issue,” Tompkins explained to the jurors.

Of course, many jurors already knew that.

“Did you find any evidence of the abuse Michele Anderson spoke of?” Scott continued.


“Do you recall Michele Anderson telling you the crime was premeditated?”

“She mentioned it a number of times.”

Scott looked down at his legal pad, marked something and turned a page.  “After Wayne and Judy were put outside, we talked about the other four in the family coming home.  At that point, didn’t she have the .357 Magnum?”

“Yes,” Tompkins answered.

“She said that she shot Wayne four times, didn’t she?”

Tompkins agreed.

“She also said that she shot Erica twice.  Does that sound accurate?”


“How many bullets does a .357 Magnum have in it?”


“No more questions,” Scott said.

The jurors knew that their world of understanding was about to change dramatically when the next witness took the stand.

Ross Martin Gardner was a tall thin man who walked with an air of importance.  He wore a black suit, white shirt and gold tie.  In front of him, he held a large file.  Once the jurors learned he had authored three books in forensic science; was a world recognized leader in the field, and trained examiners in forensic analysis, his credibility gave them confidence.  For the first time, they learned that he might provide answers to the million questions that had been tumbling around in their heads since December.

The witness’s specialty was Crime Scene Reconstruction.  Butterflies would bounce in some of the juror’s stomachs.  Many of them had already thought that some sort of visual reconstruction was necessary.  They had hoped somebody could explain the murderous chaos they were now a part of.  Before jurors could work on justice in the matter, they had to know how the matter occurred.  The ‘why’ was on a back burner resting with the emotion surrounding the event.

“What were you asked to do for the Carnation scene?” Scott asked.

The witness turned toward the jury.  “We knew ahead of time that this was a very complicated scene.  My job was to use the data from the scene to define the actions that occurred.   With thirty years of experience in the field of forensics, I use multiple data points to reconstruct the scene. I use extensive information from photographs, DNA, Y-STR and firearms to put the pieces together.”

“What do you do to reconstruct the crime scene?” Scott asked.

The witness turned his chair toward the jurors.  “Nothing just happens.  Causal change is always at a scene.  I look at the physical evidence in conjunction with the assistance of a sizable team.  We do not, however, glean information from witness statements.  I don’t even want to hear them because it could create a bias.  Instead, the scene speaks to the action.  Our job is to determine the action and then put it in chronological order.  The order of the action is the most difficult.”

He took a sip of water while the jurors watched expectantly.

“We define the actions in event segments.  The actors in the event are either victims or shooters.  The names do not matter to me in the recreation.  We are trying to understand a sequence of actions so the names become immaterial.  We create a flow chart with simple statements that are conclusions to in-depth studies of a multiplicity of factors.  Much of that ties to blood spatter analysis,” he explained.

“What did you do in Carnation?  Did you focus on the outside and inside?” O’Toole asked.

“Our focus was on the interior with a focus on the second event.  The first event had clean-up and evidence contamination involved.  Our thoughts were that it was the event in the living room that was most important.  That sequence of events led to another scene outside.”

“What did you do to facilitate our understanding of what happened?” Scott asked.

“We recreated the crime scene exactly to a millimeter of scale and have determined, to our best knowledge, the sequence of events that occurred in the living room on December 24, 2007.  As we approach this, we are going to look at it with one victim at a time. This event will be in conjunction with a shooter event.  For all intents and purposes, the shooter will be listed as “unknown”…”

Many of the jurors realized on the way home that it would soon be their work to figure out who the shooter was, despite their already having a good idea.  The presumption of innocence had faded like the last of the sun’s rays on the horizon at sunset. It was once a bright consideration and would soon explode into the green flash that signified the dawn of darkness.

The jurors were torn inside because some looked forward to Monday.  On one hand, they were almost thrilled at the thought of seeing the crime scene as it was.  It would provide soothing relief to the millions of scenarios tossed around in their heads.  They would finally get some answers.

On the other hand, each of them knew they were there for the serious task of understanding what happened to Wayne, Judith, Scott, Erica, Olivia and Nathan.   They would have to go back to the scene of the crime and somehow keep emotion at bay.  Anger and sadness would have to wait.  The duty of justice sobered their thoughts.

But, to get to the answers they needed, they had to walk into the heart of hell.  They were soon going to find themselves standing in the living room where the horrific murders took place a long time ago and none of them looked forward to it…








Paul Sanders is the author of “BRAIN DAMAGE: A Juror’s Tale – The Hammer Killing Trial” and “WHY NOT KILL HER: A Juror’s Perspective – The Jodi Arias Death Penalty Retrial”, both of which are available on Amazon. The author began his True Crime writing career after being deliberating death penalty juror #13 in the State of Arizona vs. Marissa DeVault in 2014. Paul reported daily on the Carnation Murder Trial daily with Trial Talk Live’s Jarrett Seltzer.  The interviews may be found in the archive section of Trial Talk Live.  This work is a draft of the upcoming book: “BANQUET OF CONSEQUENCES: A Juror’s Plight – The Carnation Murder Trial of Michele Anderson”.


The sentencing of Michele Anderson is scheduled for April 21, 2016.


This work is copyrighted by Paul Sanders.


Pictures courtesy of Paul Sanders, KOMO-TV, KIRO-TV, King County, State of Washington Prosecutor’s Office.


Facebook: Paul Sanders
Twitter: The13thJurorMD



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *