SEATTLE -- A judge on Wednesday formally sentenced Joseph McEnroe to life in prison without parole, the only sentence available under law after a jury failed to agree whether he should be put to death for killing six members of a family on Christmas Eve 2007 in Carnation.
McEnroe did not testify on his own behalf during the hearing on Wednesday, but listened as family, friends, and even jurors spoke for the victims.
“A person that would do that on Christmas Eve, you’ve got to be about a low of a form as you could be,” said Richard Duncalf, a friend of the victims.
McEnroe, 36, was convicted of murdering three generations of his ex-girlfriend’s family on Dec. 24, 2007. His ex-girlfriend and alleged accomplice, Michele Anderson, will face trial later.
Killed that night were Michele's parents, Wayne and Judy Anderson; her brother, Scott, and his wife, Erica, and Scott and Erica’s two young children, 3-year-old Nathan and 5-year-old Olivia.
“You wiped everybody out and I’m just really sad,” Pam Mantel, Erica Anderson’s mother, told McEnroe at sentencing. “You have ruined my heart.”
Five members of the jury that convicted McEnroe were present in the courtroom on Wednesday.
In a move that veteran King County prosecutor Scott O’Toole said he hasn’t seen in his career, the presiding juror spoke during the hearing and apologized to the family that the jury could not reach an agreement in the death penalty phase.
“We were introduced into your family in the most horrific way that could possibly be,” said Angela Morello-Williams, the presiding juror.
Morello-Williams told the family that the case has had a profound impact on her life.
“Wayne, Judy, Scott, Erica, Nathan, and Olivia will always be in our hearts and you have touched us deeply,” she said.
Perhaps the most powerful statement at sentencing came from Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell himself.
“You’ve been afforded a tremendous opportunity Mr. McEnroe. It’s the opportunity to live out your life to its natural end,” he said. “This is an opportunity you denied to each one of your victims, including two young children who had barely begun their life’s adventure.”
In remembrance of the victims, the court placed six white carnations – one for each life taken by McEnroe – on a bench in the gallery.
Jury selection in Michele Anderson's case is expected to begin in October, with opening statements likely in January.