Court costs in Carnation murder case reach nearly $7 million

SEATTLE -- Court costs for a man and woman accused of murdering six members of a Carnation family have already cost taxpayers nearly $7 million.

Michelle Anderson and Joseph McEnroe are accused of committing gruesome murders, but finding justice for those stolen lives is now costing a small fortune.

Anderson and McEnroe are accused in the 2007 killing of Anderson's parents, Wayne and Judy Anderson; her brother, Scott; his wife, Erica; and their children, 5-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Nathan

Pam and Tony Mantle have attended nearly every hearing held since the case began almost six years ago. They feel the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent by the defense team is a waste, especially since the trial hasn't even started.

"Something's broken," Tony Mantle said. "This is not a whodunnit. There's no question of who did it."

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for both Anderson and McEnroe. The cost of preparing for their trials has now reached more than $6.7 million, with the bill going to taxpayers.

Dave Chapman's office oversees the defense team. He said capital murder cases involve a tremendous amount of work involving the most experienced attorneys.

"No stone should be unturned when a person's life is at stake," he said.

Prosecuting attorney Dan Satterberg made the call to seek death. His office has spent more than $800,000 so far, but he believes the cost is justified.

"We're willing to stick it out to find justice for the six people who were murdered in this case," Satterberg said. "And yes, it costs a lot of money. And yes, it takes too long, and those are frustrations that we share."

Whether or not taxpayers believe it's a waste, the final bill is sure to climb once the trial actually starts.

"Michele Anderson and Joe McEnroe put a price on our family members, and that was they were of no value," Pam Mantle said.

The judge set January 13 as the start of McEnroe's trial. Anderson has a mental competency hearing set for December 2, but her trial date is still up in the air.