He was found by police sitting calmly and stated that
he didn't speak German. At trial, he stated that he was born without a
soul and that God had allowed him to earn a soul by traveling back in
time to kill Nazis. However, the prosecution asserted that the killings
were motivated by his employer's garnishing of his wages to the IRS, to
pay back taxes.
The weapons he used were an AK-47 variant, a 12-gauge
shotgun, and a .32 caliber pistol. He fired off a total of 37 rounds,
shooting his victims in the back of the head repeatedly.
He was found guilty of seven counts of first degree
murder and sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences without the
possibility of parole.
In the court session following the crimes, McDermott
claimed he had "Travelled back in time and killed Hitler and the last 6
Jury rejects insanity claims, convicts "Mucko" of
April 24, 2002
He spoke of archangels, going back in time to
shoot Nazis and believes he's dead, but a jury rejected those
claims Wednesday when it found Michael "Mucko" McDermott guilty on
all counts in the shooting deaths of his seven co-workers.
After almost 16 hours of deliberations over three
days, McDermott was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder for
the Dec. 26, 2000, shooting at his former workplace, an Internet company
in Wakefield, Mass.
Judge R. Malcolm Graham sentenced McDermott to seven
consecutive life terms — one for each victim. As court officers led
McDermott away in handcuffs following the sentencing, courtroom
observers cheered and applauded.
The burly, bushy-haired defendant — who sat through
much of the trial reading the Bible — showed no emotion as the verdict
was read in a Cambridge courtroom. Victims' relatives who filled the
courtroom broke down in tears or smiled after hearing the first guilty
Calling McDermott a "weak, cowardly, pathetic loser,"
Dan Hagerty, husband of victim Janice Hagerty, spoke in court after the
verdict was announced and talked about how his late wife was now buried
in the cemetery where the couple taught their daughter to ride her bike.
"I feel such anger and sorrow when I think of the
events that will be coming up for my daughter that Janice won't be there
for," Hagerty said.
As several relatives of victims spoke, McDermott sat
emotionless in his chair at the defense table, his face buried in a book.
He never once looked at those who were speaking.
Some relatives said they were especially angered by
McDermott's claims of insanity during the trial and asked the judge to
give him the maximum penalty allowable under the law.
"Michael McDermott has victimized the family and
friends of seven victims twice — first on Dec. 26, 2000, and now he has
dragged us through this long trial," said David Marceau, brother of
victim Paul Marceau. "He trivializes the death of seven precious people
by fabricating this story to mask his guilt."
Kevin Reddington, McDermott's lawyer, requested
concurrent terms for his client. Prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly, however,
asked that each victim be remembered in their own way, and requested
"Michael McDermott is owed no mercy by the court, by
the families, by anyone," O'Reilly said. He deserves the ultimate
punishment which is not allowed in Massachusetts."
There is no death penalty in Massachusetts. Had the
jury found him insane, McDermott would have been committed to a mental
hospital for an indefinite period of time rather than being sent to
During the trial, prosecutors contended that
McDermott, a software tester, was angry because of $5,500 in back taxes
he owed to the Internal Revenue Service that his employer was about to
garnish from his wages.
McDermott took the stand to testify he was
commissioned by St. Michael the Archangel to stop the Holocaust, an act
that would allow him to earn a soul, he said. He also said that he
believes that he was arrested by German police and that he died shortly
after in a German police station.
McDermott said he is in purgatory, a place where
Roman Catholics believe one goes temporarily when they are not yet
worthy to go to heaven, and that he believed that his lawyer, Kevin
Reddington, was his guardian angel.
But on the stand, McDermott was confronted with
evidence seized from his own computer that he had researched "how to
fake mental illness." Prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly argued that the
evidence also showed that he purchased a book on how to malinger or
McDermott admitted he did such research, but said he
did so only to learn how to appear sane and stay out of a mental
Murder Charges In Workplace Shooting
Motive May Have Been Related To Withholding Of Back Taxes
Feb. 15, 2001
A grand jury on Thursday indicted the man
suspected of systematically executing seven co-workers at a Wakefield
Internet company the day after Christmas with seven counts of murder and
a variety of weapons charges.
Michael McDermott, a 42-year-old software engineer,
allegedly used a semiautomatic rifle and 12-gauge shotgun to kill his co-workers
at Edgewater Technology Inc. Prosecutors have said he was angry over a
government demand that the company withdraw back taxes from his
McDermott's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, has said
McDermott was undergoing psychiatric treatment and taking medication,
and that he may pursue an insanity defense.
Reddington did not immediately return a call for
On Jan. 18, a Malden District Court judge ordered
McDermott to Bridgewater State Hospital for a psychological evaluation.
He has pleaded innocent to seven murder charges.
McDermott joined Edgewater in March and was described
by coworkers as strange and quirky.
In the hours after the shooting, authorities searched
McDermott's home and office space. In his Haverhill apartment they found
bomb-making chemicals, blasting caps and magazines on explosives.
A Middlesex grand jury indicted McDermott on seven
counts of murder, three counts unlawful possession of a firearm,
unlawful possession of a large capacity firearm, and unlawful possession
of a large capacity feeding device.
The Middlesex District Attorney's Office on Thursday
released autopsy reports detailing which weapons were used and where the
victims were shot.
Prosecutors said that McDermott went to Edgewater on
Christmas Day and left behind a stash of weapons: an AK-47 semiautomatic
rifle with an attached 60-round, large capacity feeding device; a 12-gauge
pump-action shotgun; a .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol; a bolt action
rifle and a bag filled with ammunition boxes.
The next day, at about 11:10 a.m., he took out the
shotgun and the AK47, and, authorities said, began a rampage that
claimed the lives of seven co-workers: Janice Hagerty, 46; Cheryl Troy,
50; Craig Wood, 29; Jennifer Bragg Capobianco, 29; Louis Javelle, 58;
Paul Marceau, 36; and Rose Manfredi, 48.
Prosecutors said he did not have a license to carry
any of the firearms.
The autopsies showed that:
Troy was shot five times with the AK47, sustaining
gunshot wounds to the head, right arm and torso;
Hagerty was shot twice with the AK47, receiving
wounds to her head and torso;
Javelle was shot three times with the AK47 and the
shotgun, receiving wounds to his head and torso;
Wood was shot five times with the AK47 and was
wounded in the head, legs and right arm;
Capobianco was shot four times in the torso with
Marceau was shot six times with the AK47 and the
shotgun to his leg, right arm and torso;
Manfredi was shot five times with the AK47 and the
shotgun in he legs and head.
At the end of the rampage, 49 spent AK47 shell
casings and six spent shotgun casings were left behind, authorities said.
McDermott is tentatively scheduled to be arraigned in
Middlesex Superior Court on Feb. 22.
McDermott was born Michael McDermod Martinez in
Plymouth to Raymond and Rosemary Martinez. He reportedly changed his
name because he wanted to sound Irish, not Hispanic.
In 1978, he joined the Navy, and he served six years
aboard the nuclear submarine USS Narwhal. He was an electrician and was
honorably discharged as a petty officer second class.
In 1982, he began work as auxiliary power plant
operator at Maine Yankee nuclear power plant, staying until he was fired
in 1988. During that time, he showed signs of mental illness. In 1987,
he tried to commit suicide and filed a workers' compensation claim after
his was fired, citing his "stress-induced suicide attempt." He settled
He later worked in research and development for
nearly 10 years at Duracell, where he left voluntarily in February.
Portrait Of A Killer
Nadya Labi, Tom Duffy and Eric Francis - Time.com
Monday, Jan. 08, 2001
few weeks for six years, Michael McDermott drove up to an hour to Dedham,
Mass., to donate blood platelets. He went to the Red Cross there because
it was the only one in the area with the equipment required for the
involved procedure--which takes two hours, about twice as long as
ordinary blood donation. McDermott gave voluntarily, receiving no
payment in return. On the lower right of his car's rear bumper, he
pasted a sticker: GIVE BLOOD.
But last week McDermott
chose to draw blood. The morning after Christmas, McDermott, 42, dressed
in a plaid shirt and jeans, was chatting about video games with a
colleague at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Mass., where he wrote
code for and tested the company's software. Just after 11 a.m., however,
he strolled through the lobby with an AK-47 assault rifle, shotgun and
semiautomatic pistol. When a co-worker asked, "Where are you going with
that?" he responded, "Human resources." He then shot to death two
employees at reception, headed down the hall to the human-resources
department, picked off three people and proceeded to accounting, where
three other workers were barricaded. McDermott blasted through the door
and gunned down two. (The third employee survived by concealing herself
beneath a desk.) "No one saw it coming," said a former employee who
asked to remain anonymous. "I was talking to one guy who was sitting in
the conference room when the first bullets were fired. The bullets flew
through the glass. They had no idea what was going on. They hit the
ground, and one individual had glass all in his hair." McDermott then
returned to the lobby, sat in a chair within reach of a black tote bag
packed with ammunition and waited for the police.
Money troubles seem to have triggered his rampage.
The burly engineer hunted down the two departments--accounting and human
resources--that were about to garnishee his wages to pay overdue taxes
to the Internal Revenue Service. McDermott had complained to colleagues
about the garnishment and had asked for a cash advance a week before
Christmas. The request was denied by one of the victims. The last straw,
however, may have been a call he received at 11:07 a.m. on the day of
the shooting. A Chrysler representative informed him that his 1994
Plymouth was going to be repossessed. According to the Boston Globe, he
responded blithely, "I won't be needing it. Come pick it up."
There had been one warning. Haverhill police received
a call at 11:40 p.m. on Christmas Eve reporting gunshots. Investigators
learned that a man driving a sedan with the license plate MUCKO had been
spotted in a wooded area where they later found a handful of shotgun
shells. McDermott was nicknamed "Mucko" by a nephew who couldn't
pronounce his first name. "We didn't encounter McDermott," says Sergeant
Stephen Brighi. "If luck had been on our side, history could have
possibly been changed."
The second of Richard and Rosemary Martinez's four
children, McDermott exchanged his Hispanic surname for a slight
variation on his middle one (McDermod) in 1980, four years after he
joined the Navy. He served on the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Narwhal, an
assignment that required rigorous psychological screening. However, says
Bruce Joy, one of his crewmates, "when somebody violated his personal
space and got too close to him he responded by sneezing directly in the
guy's face." Even so, says Joy, "in the bizarre world of the submarine
community there was nothing that would suggest that he would do what he
did." McDermott worked as a nuclear-reactor operator at the Maine Yankee
plant after leaving the Navy but abandoned the highly specialized job
after six years of training, just when it should have begun paying
It is unclear what he did for the next few
years, but he eventually joined the Duracell company and married a
childhood sweetheart, Monica Sheehan. McDermott summed up that
experience in 1997 on a website for Narwhal veterans: "Well, I came back
to the land of my youth and married a childhood friend. Lasted three and
a half years before she split." His wife moved away to a Chicago suburb.
In the meantime, the man who had met the strict weight limits to work on
a sub ballooned to 350 lbs.
The answering machine at his one-bedroom apartment
the day after the killing went, "Hello, this is Michael's computer. Here
I am...brain the size of a planet, and what does he have me doing?...answering
the phone." It was a playful reference to the sci-fi cult classic The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In his home, police found fuses,
blasting caps and three gallons of nitric acid in a cardboard box
labeled DANGEROUS: DO NOT MOVE. McDermott had a firearms-identification
card for rifles and shotguns that expired in 1999. Neighbors remember
him as an unsmiling presence, but by Christmas he seemed to be in good
spirits. "I've never seen him cheery, but he was acting cheery on
Christmas," says his neighbor Kevin Forzese.
"This was a methodical undertaking," insisted
prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly at the arraignment, while McDermott's parents
sat in the front row. "He specifically targeted the individuals we
believe he shot." McDermott's lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf
and, in a move that suggests he might pursue an insanity defense, asked
that McDermott be allowed to continue taking his psychotropic medication.
It will be left to the court to map the journey of a
blood donor turned life taker. Only last August, a man named Michael
McDermott who used the handle "Mucko" was preaching peace in an Internet
discussion about explosives. He reprimanded someone looking to buy land
mines: "It would seem that some 'Christians' have forgotten the Sixth
Commandment. It is hard to imagine Jesus resorting to land mines." The
commandment is Thou Shalt Not Kill.