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Jurors See Graphic Rampage Photos

April 06, 2002|From Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — One juror and several relatives of victims were overcome by emotion and left the courtroom Friday after seeing graphic photographs and a police video of seven people gunned down in an office massacre.

Prosecutors presented the images on the first day of testimony in the trial of Michael McDermott, accused of shooting seven colleagues at Edgewater Technology Inc. because he was angry over the company's plan to withhold some of his wages to pay back taxes.

McDermott, 43, admits he went on the shooting rampage at the Wakefield office the day after Christmas 2000 but says he's not criminally responsible because he suffers from schizophrenia and was insane.

The video showed a hole McDermott blasted in the door of Edgewater's accounting office. Inside, he killed payroll manager Rose Manfredi, who would have been the one to withhold his wages, and another employee, Paul Marceau.

Patricia Bohrer, the company's former chief financial officer, was nearby in her office when she heard the first shots. She said she hid beneath her desk as the shots grew louder and she heard a woman scream.

She emerged and saw co-worker Jennifer Capobianco slumped at her desk "like she was sleeping." There was blood on her tan slacks.

"I kept thinking they were gunshots, but then I thought it couldn't be," she said, her voice cracking.

She hid under her desk again and emerged only when she heard police. She saw Linda Tessier come out of the accounting office, the scene of most of the carnage.

"Her face was white as a ghost. She looked like a zombie," Bohrer testified. "I started to cry and I said, 'Where's Rose? Where's Rose?' She said, 'He shot her. The bastard shot her. It was Michael McDermott.' "

Bohrer also testified that she and Cheryl Troy had met two weeks earlier with McDermott and offered to help mediate his tax problems with the Internal Revenue Service. She said he was visibly upset about the IRS lien and asked them to prove that the company had to comply. He would take home $276 every other week of his $55,000 annual salary until the $5,586 was paid off.

"He was still not satisfied that we had to do this," Bohrer said.

McDermott, in a prison jumpsuit with unkempt, shoulder-length hair and a massive beard, read a Bible through much of the testimony.

Prosecutors say McDermott systematically killed his victims with an AK-47 and a pump-action shotgun.

Prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly told jurors in his opening statements that McDermott spent Christmas Day with his family, then brought a stockpile of guns and ammunition to his office that night. The next day, he chatted amiably with several co-workers, then pulled two guns out of a large black bag and began shooting, O'Reilly said.

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