- Associated Press - Saturday, December 27, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - Seven years after six family members were killed in Carnation on Christmas Eve, a King County judge is nearly ready to begin hearing the case against one of the two people charged with six counts of aggravated first-degree murder.

A jury was chosen in the case against Joseph McEnroe, which is scheduled to begin with opening statements on Jan. 12, The Seattle Times reported (https://is.gd/GmVRq4 ).

McEnroe and his former girlfriend, Michele Anderson, are each charged with six counts of aggravated first-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 24, 2007, shooting deaths of Anderson’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, 5-year-old niece and 3-year-old nephew.

King County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell said in court earlier this week that jury selection has been a rigorous, grueling process.

According to Ramsdell, 3,000 summonses were mailed to prospective jurors. That group was whittled down to 55 last week and then on Friday, seven men and nine women were selected to serve as jurors in a trial that could stretch into May.

Though only 12 will participate in deliberations, the jurors don’t yet know which four of them will be designated as alternates.

Both cases have experienced a number of delays, largely due to repeated trips to the state Supreme Court. The justices have reversed Ramsdell’s orders on three separate occasions.

The high court is again being asked to weigh in, though it’s unclear what, if any, impact that will have on McEnroe’s trial.

On Friday, Ramsdell - noting the anniversary of the killings - denied a request by Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O’Toole to postpone opening statements another week.

“I owe it to the public and the jurors to make sure this case moves forward on time,” he said.

Defense costs through October have totaled $4.06?million in McEnroe’s case, and $4.58?million in Anderson’s case, according to the King County Department of Public Defense.

The combined cost of prosecuting both defendants - which does not include costs associated with the criminal investigation or work done by the State Patrol’s crime lab - is roughly $1.06?million through November, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

Anderson, also 36, has a September 2015 trial date, though it’s unclear if two recent developments could push her trial out further.

After Anderson’s competency was challenged for the third time earlier this year, Ramsdell ruled in October that she is competent to stand trial. Her attorneys, Colleen O’Connor and David Sorenson, have since filed a motion with the Supreme Court seeking discretionary review of Ramsdell’s competency ruling.

They’ve also filed a motion seeking Ramsdell’s permission to withdraw from the case, citing a “complete and irreparable breakdown” in communication with Anderson.

Both motions related to Anderson are to be heard in early January.


Information from: The Seattle Times, https://www.seattletimes.com

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