EVERETT — Michael Konicke, 61, is trying to come to grips with a new life. One without his wife of 40 years or the house in Machias where they made their home.
“We both had every intention of living out our lives on that property,” he said.
That dream came to an end 2½ years ago. Their son is to blame.
On Thursday, Zachary Konicke, now 32, was given the maximum time within state sentencing guidelines.
He was sentenced in Snohomish County Superior Court to 23 years for second-degree murder, second-degree assault and first-degree arson. The punishment had been recommended by the prosecutor and the defense as part of a plea agreement in August.
Judge Joseph Wilson also ordered a lifetime ban on Konicke contacting his father.
“Is this a sufficient sentence? Not really. Not really,” Wilson said.
“… You’re a danger that we just don’t see coming.”
Zachary Konicke previously told the court that he stabbed his mother in the head and leg while she was face-down on the kitchen floor. He also cut his father with a knife before kicking him down a staircase.
Then, while his mother was hiding in the bathroom to get away from him, he set fire to the house. She died in the flames.
Before the judge’s decision, defense attorney Robert O’Neal said his client’s mental health should be taken into consideration, calling the attack “an extreme psychotic episode.”
Medical professionals previously stated they could not confirm or rule out whether Zachary Konicke had been living with mental illness. He also was known to use drugs. Defense attorneys earlier had considered pursuing an insanity defense.
Michael Konicke on Thursday said he didn’t believe drugs or mental health played a role in his son’s actions. When the two came face to face that night, his son had every intention to commit murder, he said. His injuries have required extensive treatment and continue to affect his health.
Alex Konicke, 30, said the family wanted to see his brother sent to prison for life. He said it was difficult for him to stomach that his brother could be released someday.
“We have waited for two years for this nightmare to come to an end,” he said.
When it was his turn to address the courtroom, Zachary Konicke said his family never deserved the hurt he caused.
“I promise you,” he said. “I was completely out of my mind … I regret that any of this happened.”
The judge chastised Konicke for his choice of words, saying that people “regret” not buying a lottery ticket, or not shaking someone’s hand.
“That lack of empathy that you have, that you’ve just shown, is disturbing,” Wilson said.