It took Michael McDermott approximately 10 minutes to kill seven coworkers at Edgewater Technologies Inc. in Wakefield, Mass., on Dec. 26, 2000. It took a jury much longer to pronounce him guilty of seven counts of first-degree murder yesterday.
Witnesses say that Michael McDermott walked into the reception area of Edgewater Technologies around 11 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2000, and killed two coworkers who were standing there. He then moved to several offices, where he shot and killed five more coworkers.
During his trial, McDermott claimed that he thought the coworkers were Adolph Hitler and some of his officers, and that by killing them, he was preventing the Holocaust.
Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley speculated at the time of the shootings that the rampage was triggered by McDermott''s alleged unpaid back taxes. The Internal Revenue Service contacted Edgewater Technologies for help in collecting McDermott''s back taxes. The IRS was "taking a percentage but not all" of McDermott''s pay, said Coakley.
McDermott was angry about the garnishment, said some coworkers, who reported overhearing an angry outburst from him in the company''s accounting offices the week before the shooting. Police indicated the shootings were not random, since McDermott moved from one section of the building to another, bypassing several other coworkers along the way.
McDermott killed human resources vice president Cheryl Troy; office manager Janice Hagerty; Louis Javelle, a director of consulting; Jennifer Bragg Capobianco of the marketing department; Craig Wood, human resources; technician Paul Marceau; and payroll worker Rose Manfredi.
Police found McDermott, who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, a semiautomatic handgun and a shotgun, sitting in the lobby of the building near the bodies of two of his victims.
During the trial, prosecutors pointed out that McDermott appeared to have planned the killings. He test-fired his shotgun two days before the shootings and hide the guns at work on Christmas, when no one was in the office. He also walked past several coworkers, allowing them to live, while he hunted others.
Jurors apparently agreed with the prosecutors'' version of events, taking 16 hours over three days to convict McDermott. Since Massachusetts does not have a death penalty, McDermott will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Angry relatives of the victims applauded the verdict and shouted, "die in there" and "goodbye" as McDermott was led from the courtroom.
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])