- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) A man who gunned down seven co-workers at a software company was convicted of murder yesterday after failing to convince a jury he was so delusional he thought he was killing Adolf Hitler and his henchmen to prevent the Holocaust.
Michael McDermott, a hulking 43-year-old with long, shaggy hair and a bushy black beard, stood impassively as he listened to the verdict that automatically sends him to prison for life without parole. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.
Prosecutors said McDermott went on his rampage because he was angry about the company's plan to withhold part of his salary to pay $5,600 in back taxes to the IRS. They said he concocted the story of being on a divinely ordered, time-travel mission to prevent the Holocaust after reading up on how to fake mental illness.
During sentencing, McDermott sat at the defense table with his burly arms in front of him and read a Bible without looking up as relatives of the dead took the stand and sorrowfully recalled their loved ones.
Daniel Hagerty said that his wife, Janice, was buried in the same cemetery where they taught their daughter to ride a bike.
"Right now, I'm glad you're going to die in prison," he said to McDermott. "I hope you're about to enter a life of hell, of constant cruelty and degradation."
The jury deliberated for nearly 16 hours over three days before rejecting the insanity defense and convicting the software engineer on seven counts of first-degree murder.
Prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly said McDermott deserves to die for his crimes. "Michael McDermott is owed no mercy by the court, by the families, by anyone," Mr. O'Reilly said. "He deserves the ultimate punishment."
As McDermott was being led from out of the courtroom in shackles, about 50 relatives and friends of the victims stood for long, sustained applause and yelled, "Die in there" and "Goodbye." Others swore at him.
McDermott's parents left without comment.
The defense claimed McDermott suffered from depression and schizophrenia and was hallucinating during the shootings at Edgewater Technology in suburban Wakefield on Dec. 26, 2000.
The trial featured chilling testimony from workers who hid under their desks or ran out of the building after McDermott began shooting. Some said they heard co-workers begging for their lives before McDermott blasted them with an AK-47 rifle and a pump-action shotgun.
McDermott matter-of-factly testified that he had been given a mission by St. Michael the Archangel, who told him he could earn a soul and prevent the Holocaust if he killed Hitler and six German generals.
In vivid detail, McDermott described being transported back in time to 1940 and entering a bunker where he saw Hitler and men and women wearing swastika armbands. He described killing Nazis, one by one, as horrified family members of the real victims wept and left the courtroom.
"Hitler was there. I shot and killed him," he said. "My mission was complete. I knew at this point I had a soul."

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