SEATTLE — The man convicted of killing six members of a family, including two children, in a Carnation home in 2007 broke down on the stand Monday as he described the murders in detail.
Taking the witness stand for the second time in his sentencing trial, Joseph McEnroe — who was convicted of murder on March 25 — said he helped kill the family of his then-girlfriend, Michele Anderson, because she brainwashed him into believing her family members posed a danger to them.
“She had a lot of anger, a lot of hatred. She thought the best way to act on that was to go off and kill people,” McEnroe said.
McEnroe said that, during their five-year relationship, he had to persuade Michele Anderson not to kill people.
But McEnroe said Michele's anger and paranoia grew.
Angry over past grudges, he says, Michele began to plot the murders of her own family for more than a year.
“She felt that she was entitled to the Carnation property,” McEnroe said.
Prosecutors say the couple was living rent-free at the Carnation property that belonged to Michele’s parents.
Despite the couple’s savings, McEnroe said, Michele convinced her parents they were broke.
On Christmas Eve 2007, the couple attacked Michele's father, Wayne Anderson, first. McEnroe said Michele’s gun jammed so he fired the first shot at Wayne, then turned the gun on Michele's mother, Judy Anderson, who was standing by the kitchen sink.
McEnroe broke down on the stand while describing how he cleaned up the crime scene.
“I went and moved Judy first and put a bag over her head because I couldn’t look at her and see the emptiness where she should be,” McEnroe said.
After the clean-up, the couple waited for Michele's brother, Scott, and his wife, Erica, and their two children to show up at the home. McEnroe admitted to police that he needed to get rid of witnesses.
McEnroe said he felt his worth in life was measured by a woman who verbally abused him.
“I would end up crawled up in a ball at the corner of the room,” McEnroe said.
McEnroe testified that he attempted to castrate and kill himself several times because of Michele's powerful grip on his life.
“I would go back and get the gun and hold it to my head (and say), will this make you happy? So she will talk me down (and say) I love you,” McEnroe said.
The defense wants the focus on Michele as the main person behind the killings. They shared McEnroe's journal with the jury in which he is depicted as a desperate man.
“I feel so empty, it makes me want to remove myself from this hollow life,” McEnroe said.
The defense claims McEnroe suffers from mental illness and that’s why he was bullied into killing the Anderson family.
But the prosecution says it’s all an act. They say McEnroe was a willing participant.
The jury convicted him of the murders. Now the same jury will decide whether McEnroe gets the death penalty or life in prison.
Michele Anderson's trial will be held later.