The state will not seek the death penalty against a man accused of murdering his grandparents last March after they welcomed him home from prison, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced Friday.
The decision means 27-year-old Michael Chadd Boysen will face a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged of two counts of aggravated first-degree murder.
Dan Donohoe, Satterberg’s spokesman, said the prosecutor was required by state law to review the case and determine “whether there is reason to believe that there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to merit leniency.”
Donohoe said the decision was reached after consultation with Boysen’s family, who are kin to both the suspect and victims.
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Prosecutors said they would not comment further on the decision while the trial is pending.
Earlier this year, prosecutors were told by a King County Superior Court judge they could not seek the death penalty as intended against Michele Anderson and her former boyfriend, Joseph McEnroe, who are charged with killing six members of Anderson’s family on Christmas Eve in 2007.
The judge ruled that prosecutors “erred as a matter of law” when they said they had opted to pursue a death sentence after considering “the facts and circumstances” of Anderson and McEnroe’s alleged crimes.
The judge wrote in his 13-page order that prosecutors should only have weighed whether mitigating circumstances existed in the decision to seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors are appealing the decision in the Anderson and McEnroe case.
According to court documents, Boysen has attempted suicide approximately a dozen times since the slayings, and he had asked his attorneys not to fight the death penalty.
His attorneys say their client’s poor mental health has been exacerbated by his treatment in the King County Jail.
According to his attorneys, Boysen has been strapped to a five-point restraint bed for 20 days straight and has spent at least 10 hours of most other days strapped to the hard, plastic board.
The extreme and repeated restrictions deprived Boysen of “even the most basic sensory input” and have worsened his mental health, his attorneys said.
Boysen is accused of killing his maternal grandparents, Robert and Norma Taylor, in their Renton-area home after they threw him a welcome-home party following his release from prison.
Police and prosecutors said the Taylors had picked Boysen up from the Monroe Correctional Complex on March 9 upon his completion of an attempted-burglary sentence.
The couple had taken their grandson to run errands and to get his identification card before returning to their home where they said he could live until he got back on his feet, police said.
That night, after his grandparents hosted the party for Boysen, he is alleged to have strangled them and stolen their money and their car.
He was arrested at a motel on Oregon three days later following a massive multistate manhunt and police standoff.
His trial is scheduled to begin in January.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.