Accused killer Michele Anderson’s lawyers on Tuesday made a last-ditch attempt to be removed from the case after a jail “snitch” came forward with some information about a recent conversation with Anderson.
Lawyers for accused killer Michele Anderson made an unsuccessful last-ditch attempt Tuesday to be removed from the case after a jail “snitch” came forward with potentially damaging information from a recent conversation with Anderson.
The disclosure comes as Anderson, 37, is less than a week away from her trial for allegedly killing six members of her family on Christmas Eve 2007. In court Tuesday, her lawyer, Colleen O’Connor, told King County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell there has been a “breakdown” in communication between Anderson and her two defense attorneys that makes it difficult for them to proceed.
O’Connor told Ramsdell that Anderson’s recent discussion about the case with a cellmate, after specifically being told by her legal team not to speak about it, “is just another highlight of that conflict.”
O’Connor declined to discuss the nature of the conversation between Anderson and the cellmate, who was identified in court Tuesday as Bridgette Latrice Brown. However, O’Connor referred to Brown as a “snitch.”
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As a result of that conversation, Brown could be called to testify at Anderson’s trial, scheduled to begin Monday. Brown is being held at the King County Jail for allegedly violating the terms of her state Department of Corrections probation in connection with a rape conviction.
O’Connor pointed out there was a conflict of interest in having Brown testify against Anderson because Brown was once represented by the Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons (SCRAP) the public-defense firm that employs O’Connor and co-defense attorney David Sorensen.
“We’re essentially pitting one client against the other,” O’Connor said. “We’re attacking a former client’s credibility.”
But Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O’Toole pointed out that Brown was represented by SCRAP for five days and there “can be no serious connection between that case [Brown’s] and this case.” He believes there is no conflict of interest.
O’Toole, in the state’s memorandum opposing the defense’s motion to withdraw, wrote that his office received a statement from Brown last week.
“Briefly put, the witness alleges that Anderson made a number of statements about the case, including admissions regarding the murders and her plans to disrupt the trial and a mistrial,” O’Toole wrote.
O’Toole said after Tuesday’s hearing that Brown could potentially be called as a state witness during Anderson’s trial.
While Ramsdell said he understood their concerns, he called it “completely ironic” that the defense team would try to get off Anderson’s case just days before the trial starts.
“There’s a certain amount of irony to this,” Ramsdell said in court. “I can’t think of anything that would be more ethically problematic than trying to withdraw on the eve of trial.”
Opening statements in Anderson’s criminal trial were supposed to be Tuesday, but the trial was delayed until next Monday after Brown’s statement surfaced last week.
A 16-member jury was selected last week to hear the case against Anderson, who is accused of helping her former boyfriend shoot six members of her family in her parents’ rural Carnation home. Four jurors are to be randomly chosen as alternates at the close of trial.
The number of jurors decreased to 15 on Tuesday, after a juror, who works at Amazon, told Ramdell’s bailiff that being away from work for so long would be a financial hardship on his family.
Anderson’s former boyfriend, Joseph McEnroe, was convicted in March for his role in the killings. The jury in his case did not impose the death penalty and McEnroe is serving six life sentences.
While Anderson also faced the possibility of a death sentence, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg decided in July not to pursue a capital punishment against her.