SEATTLE -- On Thursday, jurors heard the chilling confession of Joe McEnroe to police just after the murder of Wayne and Judy Anderson, their son and daughter-in-law, and two small grandchildren on Christmas Eve 2007 in their Carnation family home.
McEnroe could face the death penalty if convicted. His murder trial is finally under way, seven years after the killings in Carnation.
Prosecutors played the jurors McEnroe’s three-hour interview with police, in which he initially told detectives he and his then-girlfriend, Michelle Anderson, had already left to elope the day the family was killed.
But when told by a detective that Michelle had admitted to killing her family, McEnroe opened up to police about what really happened.
“These people have been good to us,” McEnroe said of Michelle’s parents, Wayne and Judy. “But then again, there’s a lot of times when they didn’t care about what we did.”
During his confession, McEnroe said the couple was angry at Michelle’s parents over money issues and past grudges. On Christmas Eve, they went to her parents’ home with guns, intending to kill them.
“When you shot Wayne, which part of the body do you think you hit?” the detective asked McEnroe.
“I don’t know," he replied. "I shot Mom, too.”
Mom was what McEnroe called Judy Anderson, because, he told police, he was so close to her. But it didn’t stop him from shooting her at point-blank range.
McEnroe also told police the couple knew Michelle's brother’s family would be showing up for a holiday feast, so they waited and killed them when they came into the home.
They were all shot to death, including the couple's children -- 5-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Nathan. McEnroe said the children were killed to eliminate witnesses.
“They saw everything,” said McEnroe. “If we left them alone, if we walked away, we’d be here telling you what I am now.”
McEnroe told police after the killings that he tried to relax at his home playing video games. Ultimately, he couldn’t relax, knowing that he would likely be caught for the horrible crime they had committed.
“Of all the things that I’ve ever seen in my life, nothing is worse than seeing somebody dead and knowing that it was my fault,” McEnroe told detectives.
His defense team earlier told jurors McEnroe was coerced into the killings by his girlfriend, but prosecutors say he knew exactly what he was doing.
The judge in the case has already denied a motion by McEnroe to plead guilty by reason of insanity.
Michelle Anderson's separate trial for the murders will be held later.