After 16 hours of deliberations over three days, a Massachusetts jury has rejected Michael McDermott’s insanity defense in the Edgewater killings, convicting the 43-year old on seven counts of first degree murder.
Because Massachusetts does not support the death penalty, the former Edgewater software tester faces an automatic life sentence without parole.
McDermott, of Haverhill, Mass., claimed bouts of depression and schizophrenia led to the shooting rampage last December, which left seven employees dead at the suburban Boston Internet consulting firm.
Prosecutors successfully argued that McDermott, unhappy about Edgewater’s
plan to take a portion of his wages to pay back taxes, used an AK-47 assault rifle, a shotgun and a semi-automatic pistol to gun down his co-workers.
McDermott’s attorneys entered an insanity plea, claiming he suffered from depression and schizophrenia. The bushy-haired McDermott, who took the stand to give testimony, said he was following instructions from heaven to prevent the Holocaust by killing Adolf Hitler and six German generals.
According to media reports, McDermott vividly described going back in time to 1940 where he killed Nazis, one by one. As McDermott told the tale, horrified family members of the Edgewater victims wept and eventually left the courtroom.
“The last Nazi was there. I shot and killed him. And Hitler was there. I shot and killed him. My mission was complete. I knew at this point I had a soul,” McDermott said, according to the reports.
In a statement, Edgewater CEO Shirley Singleton said the verdict will help bring closure to the tragedy that ruined the holiday celebrations last December.
“These have been trying times for everybody associated with the tragedy that took place on December 26, 2000. Over the past year and a half,, we have all had to deal with the grief, emotions and questions that have resulted from this act of violence. While we will never be able to forget what happened on that tragic day, today’s verdict will help us bring some level of closure and will serve as another step in the process of healing,” Singleton said.
She urged support for the company’s Edgewater-Wakefield Memorial Fund, which was set up to distribute all proceeds to the families of the victims.
Editor’s Note: Tax-deductible contributions can be dropped of at any Boston area Fleet Bank branch or sent c/o The Edgewater-Wakefield Memorial Foundation, Inc., Post Office Box 2133, Wakefield, MA, 01880-6133.