CARNATION MURDERS TRIAL of MICHELE ANDERSON Day 29 “JUSTICE FOR SIX”

 

 

BANQUET OF CONSEQUENCES:

A Juror’s Plight

THE CARNATION MURDERS TRIAL of MICHELE ANDERSON

 

DAY 29

April 21, 2016

 

 

Michele Anderson was sentenced on April 21, 2016 for the deaths of Wayne, Judy, Scott, Erica, Olivia and Nathan Anderson.

Michele Anderson was sentenced on April 21, 2016 for the deaths of Wayne, Judy, Scott, Erica, Olivia and Nathan Anderson.

“JUSTICE FOR SIX”           
(This is dedicated to the family and all those who knew the Anderson family with special consideration to the fifteen jurors who sacrificed a portion of their lives to find ‘Justice for Six’.  We thank you for your service.)

 

Jurors were not obligated to return to the sentencing of Michele Anderson in the Carnation murders trial.  Despite that, jurors from both the Joe McEnroe case and the Michele Anderson case returned.  Instead of being seated in the jury box, they sat in the front row directly behind the convicted killer.  Behind the jurors, the family and friends of the late Anderson family filled the gallery.  Although most in the gallery knew what Anderson’s sentence would be, there was still an air of anticipation among the gallery participants.  The media had been assigned seats in the jury box, the same seats I had sat in at the beginning of the trial.

“Alright, thank you,” Judge Ramsdell said to the defense team after they agreed to move forward with the sentencing phase.  “So, Mr. O’Toole, I don’t know how you want to proceed; if you have comments from individuals who want to speak or whether you would like to present your recommendation.  Go right ahead, Sir.”

Scott O’Toole, the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, stood up and straightened his red tie, which was complimented with a white shirt and crisp charcoal black suit.  “I thought I would like to make the State’s recommendation and then to give an opportunity for those who would like to speak to come forth and speak.  I think there will only be three or four speakers in front of you today.”

The attorney proceeded to walk a file folder up the Judge’s bench.  He laid the folder down.  “One issue that does occur to me today, is, that the Court may be aware that there was some paperwork filed on behalf of Miss Anderson.  I don’t know if they were filed by Miss Anderson on Friday of last week or by somebody acting on her behalf or direction but the papers referred to Miss Anderson as Pro Se attorney.  One paper filed was for an appeal and one was for personal ‘reconnaissance’ which I assume to mean personal ‘recognizance’.  I don’t know if that’s an issue we need to address today whether Miss Anderson is making a request to go Pro Se.”

He looked toward the gallery and then back at the Judge.  “You’ve not received a motion. I’ve not received a motion but I want to make sure it’s out there on the record and if there’s an objection being represented by counsel at this point, whether we should hear it or not, I wanted to let the Court know.”

Judge Ramsdell looked up, crossed his fingers and rested his chin lightly on the crown of his thumbs.  “I saw some of those materials that you’re referring to.  I got the impression that what she was attempting to do was to file an appeal Pro Se.  But, I don’t know exactly what the intention was.  Miss O’Connor?” he asked Anderson’s defense attorney.  “Can you clarify any of that for me?”

Colleen O’Connor stood up with her knuckles resting on the defense table.  She was wearing a black dress with a black and white paisley top.  “My understanding is that she prematurely filed the appeal.  We have the proper paperwork.  As far as the other, Mr. O’Toole, maybe we could have a meeting post-sentencing, where we can address the issue,” the attorney offered.

“Alright.  Then that’s the way we’ll handle it.  Thank you very much, Miss O’Connor,” the Judge said.  “So, Mr. O’Toole, I think we’re ready to proceed with sentencing now?”

“Thank you, your Honor,” Scott O’Toole acknowledged as he faced the microphone.  “As the Court is well aware, on March 4, 2016, the defendant was convicted of six counts of aggravated murder in the first degree in the names of Wayne, Judy, Scott, Erica, Olivia and Nathan Anderson.  In addition on each count, Michele Anderson received a firearm enhancement required a minimum of six months incarceration for each offense.  The State would request of this Court to sentence the defendant on each of the six counts to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of early release or parole and, in addition, the sentencing enhancement of six months to five years on each count.”

Michele Anderson sat in her peach colored jail issued jump suit without looking at the Prosecutor.  Her hand covered her eyes while the attorney asked that a restitution hearing be discussed later in the afternoon, separately.

“We also ask, finally, that the defendant have no contact with her family for the rest of her life, whether it be direct or indirect with the victim’s family for so long as the defendant shall live,” Scott stated to the Court.  “That would conclude the State’s recommendation.  If the Court were so inclined, we would like to invite those who would like to address the court.”

The Courtroom was silent as Scott O’Toole directed his four speakers to the front of the courtroom.  He led one lady toward the microphone while he had the other three wait behind her.  He introduced the first speaker as Lynn Gombiski.

She was carrying a bottle of water in one hand and moved toward the microphone.  She had gray hair and was wearing a peach colored blouse with a patterned coat.  “”I’m here on behalf of the citizens of Carnation.  It is a beautiful town named after a beautiful flower.  There’s lots of life in Carnation.  Wonderful people work there.”

Lynn paused and focused her attention toward the defendant.  “Your mother was one of them.  She delivered mail to many, many people and they enjoyed having her so much when she delivered the mail.  She also gave you life and the best that you could get in your life.  Your father was a great coach for little children.  And, your brother drove my son to and from football quite often.  My son adored your brother and his wife.  What wonderful people they were.  We all loved them and our community loved them.  You put a dark spot on our community,” she explained.

Occasionally, the defendant would look up and then look back down.

“Hopefully, after today,” Lynn continued, “we’ll all be able to clear it up, move on and live happily.  Thank you.”

“Thank you very much, Ma’am,” Judge Ramsdell said when she had finished.

Kimberly Moody took her turn at the microphone.  She had long dark hair and was wearing an aqua blue blouse, brown coat and a brown crucifix hung from a necklace on her chest.  She took a deep breath before she spoke.  “Judy was my coworker for ten years and my dear friend.  You took that away from us, Michele.  It didn’t need to happen.  I’ve been there eighteen years as a window clerk and a day hasn’t gone by where one of our customers would come in and say how much they missed her and how much she meant to them.”

Kim took a breath.  She did an admirable job as she kept her emotion at bay.  “She knew all their kids names.  She knew which of her customer’s kids were going to college next.  It was very saddening over the past eight years as we waited for justice.  Judy was such a special person.  So many of her customers have shared their many memories of her.  She truly cared about people.  She would be retired now and she would be bringing us her Zucchini bread and cookies every week.   It didn’t need to happen.  None of these lives should have been cut short.  There’s never, ever,” she emphasized, “an excuse for murder.”

The defendant took a tissue from Colleen O’Connor and dabbed at her eyes and nose.

“I’m glad the death penalty was taken off the table because I really feel that life in prison is going to be a lot harsher and you do deserve to be punished.  You took something away from us that was very special.  I miss her and the whole community misses her.

Over the past eight years it’s been kind of like living in a fog and when the trial was over I realized that I don’t know how, or don’t know why, but I forgive you,” she told Anderson, her voice cracked with emotion.  “You may not deserve to be forgiven but you are.  I personally felt so much more peace for forgiving you and I’m sorry your mom’s not going to be there to mail you Care packages.  I know she would have.  She was that special of a person.  Thank you,” Kimberly finished as she stepped away from the microphone.

The courtroom was quiet as a church when the next speaker walked toward the microphone.  No one can quantify or compare levels of pain when lives are lost to murder however no one could argue that Mary Victoria Anderson’s pain would be greater than most.  The adopted daughter of Wayne and Judy, she was supposed to be present with her son on Christmas Eve of 2007 except that her son had been taken to bed by a common cold.

One could only imagine the survivor’s guilt she suffered when wondering if it had been better to have been murdered by Michele than to live a life without the six people she cared about most in the world.

“Oooh, Michele,” she began with a trembled voice.  “I want you to know that we loved you so much.  You know the truth and you destroyed me.  And look what you have done to your life.  Do you care what you did to our family?” she asked rhetorically.

Michele pushed some tissues in her face.  Her eyes could not hold the gaze of her sister.

“Your brother loved you so much.  You’ll have a lot of time to think about that.  I loved you so much.  I suggest that one day, you learn about our Lord Jesus Christ because we all go.  I don’t know where you’re going to go but I know where I’m going to go.  And I’ll be with them so you think about it, okay?”

It looked like Michele Anderson was crying but one could never tell with convicted killers.

“Just know that they loved you,” Mary continued.  “Please?  Thank you.”

Scott O’Toole directed Pamela Mantle to the microphone.

Her face was stern.  She wore a white blouse and loose fitting blue sweater with her glasses propped above her hairline.  She took a firm, resolved and deep breath before she spoke.  In her hands, she had a folded prepared speech.

“There’s times I thought this day would never come.  There was a lot of what I would consider nonsense that went on just to get a trial set,” she said.  She glanced at her notes and continued.

“My daughter, Erica, was fearless.  Erica was my oldest child and she was my friend.  She was a life-long learner.  When she went to college, she studied commercial baking.  She was interested in the world and the people around her.  She was selfless and put other people first and that’s pretty much how she got in this terrible tragedy.”

I noticed that Pamela, along with the rest of the family seated in the gallery, was wearing a four inch diameter button with a picture of Erica, Olivia and Nathan on her chest.

“This tragedy happened on Christmas Eve because Wayne wanted the grandkids with him.  Erica and Scott were the kind of people that respected Wayne and Judy’s opinion.  I know that Erica had taken a lot of extra time off to prepare for that Christmas Eve in 2007.

When Erica was small, I taught her how to call 911 if there was ever a big problem and the police and firefighters would come help her.  When you shot her,” she said as she looked at the defendant, “she called 911 not only to save herself but to save her babies.  Erica knew you would shoot the kids.  She begged you not to do it and you did it anyway because that’s how you roll.”

Michele Anderson would not look at Pamela and kept her hand over her eyes as if to block the words out.

“I don’t think you’re big and tough, Michele.  I think you’re a bully and a coward with what you did to my daughter, Scott, Nathan and Olivia.  Olivia was barely a toddler.  I feel like you pretty much destroyed any respect I ever had for you.  I think you behaved like a coward and so did Joseph McEnroe, conspiring to kill your family and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.”

Her stinging words may have fallen on deaf ears at the defendant’s table but the power of the words did not elude anyone in attendance.

“I hope you know that when you go to Purdy (prison), it’s not going to be fun.  When you take a look in the mirror, and take a look at what you did, all these lives have been touched by this.  And, just think: Was it really necessary?” she asked.

“Erica never deserved what you did to her. Ever!  She tried to be your friend.  She tried to teach you how to drive a stick.  You got flustered, whined and she still tried to be your friend,” Pamela said.  She turned a page on her notes and looked back at Michele.

“I’m broken hearted. Every day I miss those six people.  Our lives will never be the same. People say we’re going to forget about it. Well, you don’t.  Not as a mother and I’m sure Mary Victoria feels that way.  It’s just too bad.  You had the opportunity at any moment to pick up your junk, get it out of your house, put it in the back of that black pick-up truck, and get the hell out of Dodge.  You didn’t.  You decided to be a brat and make everybody pay.  Not only did you make your family pay, you made three communities pay:  the community of Black Diamond, the community of Carnation and the community of Snohomish.

“I don’t think I could have gotten to this place had it not been for all those people who came forward and said, we’re going to help you.  That’s all I have to say.  Thank you,” Pamela finished as she walked back to the other three ladies behind her.

Scott directed the ladies back to their seats in the gallery and returned to the microphone.  “I would like to echo Pamela Mantle’s comment.  There can be no sadder statement than Erica Anderson screaming into the phone, “Not the kids!’. I think that’s the statement that will haunt everybody who has been touched by this.  I know it has affected Detective Tompkins and the attorneys on both sides.  It’s affected those who have watched the trial.  It has affected members of the press who have been kind enough to report on this case in a very fair manner.  But,” he said, raising a finger in the air, “Not the kids, is unforgivable.  Thank you.”

Judge Ramsdell asked the defense team if they had any comments and he asked Michele Anderson if she wanted to say something, affording her a last opportunity to make a statement or even apologize to the family for her crimes. She turned down the opportunity while the defense team said, “It is what it is.  It’s six counts of aggravated murder and there’s not much we can add…”

The Judge had just completed thanking the parties when a voice spoke up from the back row in the courtroom.

The voice that spoke was like nails on a chalkboard to many in the gallery who had heard it multiple times throughout the trial.  People moved uncomfortably in their seats and consternation settled on the courtroom like fog resting over a swamp.  I am confident there were mutterings under people’s breath.

“Are we allowed to speak on behalf of the defendant?” she asked.  It was the Michele Anderson lone supporter.

“And, uh, in what capacity?” the Judge queried.  He knew who she was.  There was a time when he had asked for his trial back during one of her vocalizations from the gallery.

“Just to address the Court,” she began.  She was holding an i-Pad in one hand and had microphone wires running from her ears.  “And the victims and the fact that I am a witness to the fact that she has been an honorable defendant while in custody.  That she’s not broken any rules in the eight years and four months that she’s been there.  She has suffered the same abuse that I have suffered when I was there wrongfully and I do believe that justice has not prevailed…”

I am sure I was not alone when I thought about the six victims Michele Anderson took from this world and the suffering they must have felt in their final moments.  I continued taking notes.

“I do believe that she is remorseful and the choice for her not to speak is just protecting her appellate process but she’s not the monster the media has created.  That’s not who she is and many, many people and the jury doesn’t get all the facts.”

I could not help thinking of Michele Anderson’s confession when she exclaimed, “I’m a monster.”

“Actually,” she continued, “Miss Mantle’s pain and suffering has been elongated and that no one understands Michele and mental illness has been misunderstood here.”

Judge Ramsdell did not look happy yet, held a firm composure.  “Okay, um, that wasn’t the question and I haven’t heard the answer.  As far as I’m concerned…”

“As a friend,” the Anderson supporter interrupted, “of the defendant.”

“Thank you,” Ramsdell responded.  “You had the opportunity to make a statement.  Alright,” he said.

The Judge moved some papers on his desk and then put a packet in front of him.  He adjusted his glasses and began reading aloud.  “A witness in Mr. McEnroe’s trial commented that the relationship between Michele Anderson and Joseph McEnroe was a marriage made in hell.  I don’t think truer words could be said.  Without the synergistic effect of the relationship of both individuals, they would likely have remained in obscurity their entire lives.  They would have gone unnoticed and unknown and the world would have been a better place as a result.”

The Judge stopped and looked over the gallery momentarily and went back to his statement.

“Unfortunately, fate did not convene and these two people with personality disorders joined forces in this monumental tragedy and the lives of many will never be the same as a result of that,” the Judge said.  He turned a page.

“At Mr. McEnroe’s sentencing, this Court set aside a portion of this courtroom where placards and white Carnations were placed and the Carnations symbolically represented the six victims in this case: Wayne, Judy, Scott, Erica, Olivia and Nathan Anderson.  At that sentencing, I stressed how these six individuals were not forgotten by the Court or the Jury.  It may not seem that way to outsiders as we focus on the procedures in the trial process.”

The Judge adjusted his glasses.

“But I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.  Even though we did not know them before their tragic deaths, we all know them now and I doubt that any of us will ever forget them.

“Although I did not know them in life, I think I can safely say that I know what they would want me to focus on at this point.  I don’t think they would want me to waste this precious opportunity in addressing Miss Anderson.”

The defendant had her hands in her lap and stared downward.

“The sentence that I must impose on her is essentially mandated by statute.  And they all probably suggest that I have spent enough time talking to her.  Instead, I think they would like me to speak with the secondary victims in this case who have suffered so much hardship and grief as a result of Miss Anderson’s actions,” he explained.

The Judge spoke to the secondary victims as surviving family, friends, witnesses, police, first responders and even of Linda Thiele, who unfortunately had to make the 911 call.

“It would also include the Jurors, in fulfilling their civic duty, were thrust into the limelight and exposed to gruesome images and testimony that will forever be a part of their new reality,” he explained.  He further went on to include the multiple members of Court staff who execute the process daily. “Nothing will bring these six victims back but your efforts and commitments honor their memory.”

The courtroom could feel the Judge’s voice was encumbered by sorrow as he acknowledged every member of the surviving family.

“I was astounded that Pamela and Tony Mantle managed to attend the trial religiously and relive the horrifying testimony of that horrible occasion.  The fortitude it took to listen to that 911 call in which Erica pleads to save the kids is beyond my comprehension.  Yet, you both managed to muster the courage and composure to attend these painful proceedings in order to see for yourself justice was done for your loved ones.  For that respect of love for the victims, I am sure they would want me to say a special thank you for them.

“Fortunately, this lengthy chapter of your waking nightmare is almost over.  I sincerely hope that when you leave here today, you will never have occasion to visit this courthouse again for reasons related to these murders.  I also hope that the healing that has been delayed by this process can now begin in earnest and that happier times will prevail,” the Judge said.  He looked up from his paper toward the gallery.

There was barely a dry eye in the house.

Somehow, before anyone knew it, the Judge moved into the sentence of Michele Anderson.  I thought it interesting that he did not look at her once during his statement, as if she was not worth his time.

“As for the sentencing of Miss Anderson, the result is pretty much pre-ordained,” he said, as he finally looked toward the defendant.  “Pursuant to your convictions, the law mandates that I impose six consecutive sentences of life in prison without the possibility of early release or parole plus a sentencing enhancement of sixty months on each count as well.  Restitution will be set at a separate hearing….”

The Court went through the machinations of the process of stripping Michele Anderson of her rights, rights she had probably taken for granted.  The first step in the process was to be fingerprinted for the prison and for the record as a multi-convicted felon.  Colleen O’Connor slid a sheet of paper in front of Anderson as the convict wiped her fingertips with tissue. The attorney whispered in her ear, directing her to affix her signature.

She signed the document forfeiting her rights to ever own a firearm again.  David Sorenson, her other attorney, slid another form for her to sign. She dutifully signed away her right to vote.

“Counsel? Anything further?” the Judge asked.

The attorneys in both sides of the case shook their heads.  None of them had any more words to say.

“Alright.  That concludes this matter to the family and friends of the Andersons.  Good luck to all of you and I hope you are able to begin the healing part in the process at this point in time and that your nightmare is over with.  Good luck to you all.  Thank you,” Judge Ramsdell said as he stood for the final time.

“Please rise,” Kenya, the bailiff ordered for the last time.

When we stood, I thought of a juror we saluted many moons ago, a juror dismissed for a mistaken outburst by his mother.  It had been Judge Ramsdell who had asked the Court to stand in salute to that juror’s honesty and commitment.

I remembered when this jury had been dismissed after reaching a verdict that took them into the depths of hell.  The Courtroom had stood and I thought of our standing as a salute to them and the great sacrifice they had made.  The Andersons would always be a part of their new reality and I saluted them in my heart.

When the Court stood at Kenya’s command, I thought of our standing as a salute to Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell.  He had been the navigator of two trials made from the most horrific of circumstance.  He had helped the court row the boat through the quagmires and pitfalls that are part of this intricate thing we call justice.  Somehow, despite the tears he saw in the victim’s eyes, he was the one who had always given faith that the process would be done correctly and without accentuating further damage to the family.

He was a Judge who commanded the respect of the Courtroom by setting an example every day.  I know that the jury felt great respect for him because he showed great respect for them.  He always started Court on time and was cognizant of the jurors’ sacrifice.  In the rare time he adjusted the schedule, he communicated and apologized.

He was a Judge who allowed one sidebar the length of the trial.  The jurors were grateful for that.

Judge Ramsdell showed us that the Court is not made up of laws as much as it is made up of living and breathing people.  His rooms are filled with horror and he was the captain leading our way to the best justice we could find in the worst of circumstances.

I have said that the death penalty was created for people like Michele Anderson and there will be times that some will wonder if that would have been the best path to take.  I will always wonder that.

At the same time, the statistics in death penalty cases show a seventy percent reversal rate.  The reversal rate on a life in prison sentence is a mere one percent.

Michele Anderson will never get out of prison and neither will Joseph McEnroe.  I take peace in knowing that their life will be a hell I would never wish to live.  I suspect she will wish she had gotten the death penalty.

I salute Judge Ramsdell for being a champion of truth and justice.  He was simply amazing.

As the courtroom doors closed and the Carnation murders trial began its slide toward the annals of history, I thought of Wayne, Judy, Scott, Erica, Olivia and little Nathan Anderson and how they would be part of our hearts forever.  One day we would meet in that place that Mary Victoria Anderson spoke of.

A long time ago, when I began this journey into the path of justice, I said that there could be no good ending in a murder trial, only lessons. It is a difficult proposition to face in the matter of the Carnation murders.  The only lesson I could find were in the words of Kimberly Moody to the convicted killer:

“It didn’t need to happen. None of these lives should have been cut short.  There’s never, EVER, an excuse for murder.”

Justice for six…

_______________________________________

 

I would like to take a moment to thank the many who have offered their support throughout this trial. I would especially like to thank Pamela and Tony Mantle for allowing me to take this part of the journey with them.  I also thank the friends and family of the Andersons who offered their support throughout.  I am grateful for the employees of the King County Courthouse and the professionalism displayed at all times.

Thank you to the King County Prosecutor’s Office and, especially, Scott O’Toole.  I was honored to be in the courtroom with Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell.  Thank you to the jury for your outstanding service!

I appreciate all those who followed this trial and my writings through the duration of it. You inspire me to be the best I can be.  Also, I appreciate Jarrett Seltzer from Trial Talk Live and the opportunity to share daily.  I also thank Cathy from Court Chatter for her support!

I would also like to acknowledge Sara from The Seattle Times and Allison from KIRO-TV (Seattle) for helping me around the process.

Thank you to the readers and followers of: The Trial Diaries, Court Chatter, The 13th Juror MD, Trial Chatter, Justice For Six, Trial Addictions, Trials, Trial Watchers, Trials and Things, Wild About Trials, We Want Justice Trial Forum, Christine Beswick, and Current News, Trials, Etc.

I would like to thank my editor ahead of time as we build the book, “Banquet of Consequences: A Juror’s Plight – The Carnation Murders Trial of Michele Anderson”.

Without all of you, named and unnamed, this book would not be possible.

 

J*4*6*!

 

Paul

The 13th Juror MD

 

#‎JusticeForSix
‪#‎J46
‪#‎CarnationMurderTrial
‪#‎MicheleAnderson

#CarnationMurderstrial

 

 

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”.

 

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
Website: The13thjurormd.com

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