The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.
Western State evaluators find woman accused of killing 6 relatives competent
Posted by Jennifer Sullivan
MARK HARRISON/THE SEATTLE TIMES
A woman accused of killing six members of her family on Christmas Eve 2007 has been deemed mentally competent to stand trial by evaluators at Western State Hospital.
Michele Anderson was examined earlier this summer by mental health experts. It was the second time since her arrest that she had been evaluated and deemed competent.
Her lawyer, Colleen O'Connor, told Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell during a July hearing that Anderson is highly emotional and unable to assist in her defense for her upcoming trial on six counts of aggravated murder.
One of Anderson's lawyers told Ramsdell on Wednesday that they need time to review the Western State Hospital report and would like to discuss it during her next court hearing on Oct. 20.
UPDATE:While Anderson was found competent by Western State Hospital, Ramsdell has not declared her competent to stand trial.
Anderson and her former boyfriend, Joseph McEnroe, were arrested shortly after six members of Anderson's family were found slain in her parents' Carnation home. Killed were her parents, Wayne and Judy Anderson; her brother and his wife, Scott and Erica Anderson; and that couple's children, 5-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Nathan.
Anderson told The Seattle Times during a June 2008 jailhouse interview that she is guilty of the slayings and deserves to be executed.
The two could face the death penalty if convicted. They will be tried separately. A trial date has not been set since several issues in the case are on appeal.
Mary Victoria Anderson, whose parents and brother were killed, attended Wednesday's hearing and said afterward that she's tired of the delays and wants the cases to go to trial. Pam Mantle, Erica Anderson's mother, also attended the hearing. Mantle has also voiced frustration that Anderson and McEnroe have not yet been tried.
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