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A King County Superior Court judge has ruled that Joseph McEnroe, who is accused of killing a family of six in Carnation on Christmas Eve 2007, will be tried before his co-defendant ex-girlfriend.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell made the ruling last week during a pre-trial hearing. While McEnroe’s trial is scheduled to start in January, a trial date has not been set for co-defendant Michele Anderson.

McEnroe and Anderson could face the death penalty if convicted.

Anderson and McEnroe were arrested shortly after members of her family were found slain in her parents’ Carnation-area home. Killed were her parents, Wayne and Judy Anderson; her brother and his wife, Scott and Erica Anderson; and that couple’s children, 5-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Nathan. The crimes were motivated by money, family strife and a concern over leaving behind witnesses, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2008, Anderson told The Seattle Times in a jailhouse interview that she committed the killings and wanted to die.

McEnroe’s lawyers are expected to ask Ramsdell to reconsider his ruling that  McEnroe will be tried first. The defendants, their legal teams and the prosecution are expected to return to court next week for another pre-trial hearing.