Justices OK pursuit of death penalty in Carnation case

OLYMPIA — The state Supreme Court says prosecutors can seek the death penalty against two people accused of killing a family of six in Carnation on Christmas Eve 2007.

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the justices said King County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell was wrong to bar Prosecutor Dan Satterberg from pursuing capital punishment for Michele Anderson and her former boyfriend, Joseph McEnroe.

The two are charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the slaughter of Anderson’s family — her parents, brother, sister-in-law, and her young niece and nephew.

Their lawyers argued that in deciding whether to seek death, Satterberg improperly considered the strength of his case — rather than only whether there was mitigating evidence that should warrant leniency. The lower court judge agreed.

But the justices said that argument made little sense. The court ruled that prosecutors may consider how strong their case is, as long as they also consider any mitigating factors.

“Prosecutors, in exercising their executive functions, better serve the public by holistically considering all facts and circumstances related to the crime, which, realistically, include the strength of evidence,” Justice Charles Wiggins wrote for the court. “Given the time and expense it takes to prepare and try a capital case, it makes good sense for a prosecutor to seek the death penalty only when the prosecutor believes there is a good chance of obtaining a conviction.”

Satterberg said in a written statement his office planned to ask Ramsdell to summon jurors for a trial to begin this fall.

“We are pleased that the Washington State Supreme Court expeditiously considered our appeal and has permitted this case to proceed to trial with all sentencing options available under state law,” Satterberg said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The site of a new development along May Creek Road next to the entrance of Wallace Falls State Park on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 in Gold Bar, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Gold Bar considers home parking permits near Wallace Falls

In the past, parking spilled from Wallace Falls State Park into town. Decals could avoid conflicts.

Letter
Oak Harbor legal staff quits over ‘compromised’ relationships

The city attorney and the senior assistant city attorney, who is also the public records officer, both resigned.

Connie L. Bigelow at her store Miniatures & More in Edmonds on Tuesday. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
Woman pleads guilty to wire fraud in Edmonds doll store fire

Connie Bigelow tried to collect insurance after setting fire to her business. Now she has to pay restitution.

The scene where police from a King County agency shot a man at the end of a car chase Monday afternoon in a Safeway parking lot in Snohomish on September, 27, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Police shoot murder suspect outside Safeway in Clearview

The driver allegedly reversed into an unmarked police vehicle. Officers opened fire. He’s expected to live.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office released this image of a possible suspect in a homicide at a gas station at 148th Street SW and Highway 99 near Lynnwood. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office) 20210926
Detectives investigate homicide at gas station near Lynnwood

One person was killed and a suspect was at large, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

Zach Graham stands in front of a newly restored Three Fingers Lookout. (Friends of Three Fingers Lookout)
Volunteers give makeover to precarious Three Fingers Lookout

Up high, with cliffs on all sides, the 90-year-old hut got much-needed new windows, shutters and paint.

Arlington son, 19, charged with slaying his father

Nicholi Melum had been yelling at his son, Garner, when he was killed.

Crews demolish the strip mall at 10th and Broadway, near the Washington State University Everett campus, on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in Everett, Washington. Crews started tearing down a strip mall Monday on property that will soon expand Everett Community College’s footprint across Broadway. The Cascade Learning Resource Center project will total 65,000 square feet. It will expand the college’s tutoring resources as well as house the library, writing center and other academic support programs. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Demolition begins to make way for EvCC learning center

The 65,000-square-foot project will expand the college’s tutoring resources. It’s set to open in April 2023.

Marysville man shot in hand during apparent drug robbery

At least two suspects were being sought, and police are seeking surveillance video.

Most Read