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March 21, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Felon accused of killing grandparents could face death penalty

King County prosecutors today charged Michael Chadd Boysen with two counts of aggravated-first degree murder in connection with the March 9 slayings of his grandparents.

The only punishments for aggravated first-degree murder are life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

Prosecutors typically have 30 days after a defendant’s arraignment to decide whether to seek the death penalty, but that time limit is often extended so the defense can provide any mitigation evidence that could warrant leniency.

Robert and Norma Taylor, who celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary earlier this month, were found together in a bedroom closet inside their Renton-area home, both strangled with a bloody shoelace detectives found partially wrapped around Norma’s neck, according to the charges filed against the Taylors’ 26-year-old grandson.

Boysen had been released from the Monroe Correctional Complex on March 8 after serving nine months of a 16-month sentence for a 2012 attempted burglary. His maternal grandparents were killed just hours after they picked him up from the prison, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

According to charging documents, after the slayings, two inmates at the Monroe prison told sheriff’s Detective Christina Bartlett that Boysen spoke of his plan to kill and rob his maternal grandparents once he was released. They said Boysen was “angry at his grandparents,” but the charging papers don’t say why.

Despite Boysen’s troubled history, his mother said his grandparents supported him and loved him more than life.

Boysen, who was arrested after a 10-hour police standoff in an oceanfront motel in Lincoln City, Ore., on March 12, was transferred from the Multnomah County Jail in Portland to jail in King County just before 1 p.m. today, jail records show. He is scheduled to be arraigned on April 4.

King County judges in recent weeks have tossed out the death penalty as a possible punishment for three defendants currently facing homicide trials.

The trials of Joseph McEnroe and Michele Anderson have been on hold since late January after Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell ruled that prosecutors could not seek the death penalty. McEnroe and his former girlfriend Anderson are accused of killing six members of Anderson’s family in Carnation of Christmas Eve 2007.

Ramsdell found that Prosecutor Dan Satterberg erroneously considered the strength of the state’s evidence against McEnroe and Anderson in deciding to seek the death penalty. Ramsdell wrote in his 13-page order that prosecutors should have weighed only whether mitigating circumstances existed in the decision to seek the death penalty.

In February, another judge threw out the death penalty in the case against accused police killer Christopher Monfort, but ruled that it could proceed as a capital case so as not to delay his trial.

Chief criminal Judge Ronald Kessler ruled that Satterberg abused his discretion by relying on a “flawed, practically useless” investigation into mitigating factors that could have merited leniency for Monfort — a life sentence instead of death. Kessler said Satterberg considered “minimalist mitigation materials” in reaching his decision to seek the death penalty.

The prosecutor’s office is appealing both rulings.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Renton


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