Michael Chadd Boysen, who killed his grandparents in their Renton-area home a day after he was released from prison in March, was sentenced this morning to life in prison without parole.
On Oct. 4, Boysen entered an Alford plea in the case. In an Alford plea, a defendant agrees there is sufficient evidence support a conviction, but is not directly acknowledging guilt. Because he was charged with aggravated first-degree murder, Boysen faced an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole after prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.
Nonetheless, Boysen’s attorney this morning argued in court for a shorter sentence, as he had argued in a pre-sentencing memo. But King County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Wyman Yip argued that the law is clear as to the penalty for aggravated murder.
Melanie Taylor, Boysen’s adoptive mother and the daughter of the victims, called the crimes “horrific.” She recounted the party her family had thrown for her son to celebrate his release from prison, as well as when she discovered the bodies of her parents the next day in a bedroom closet.
“The very terrible nightmare had just begun,” she said.
Taylor blamed the slayings on Boysen’s mental illness and drug addiction. “I love you forever. I love you for always,” she told him.
Boysen jumped to his feet and swore at his maternal aunt, Suzanne Campell, as she told the court how hurtful it was that Boysen entered an Alford plea instead of pleading guilty and admitting he had planned the deaths months in advance.
During his long and rambling statement to the judge, Boysen lambasted jail officials and mental health professionals for his treatment while in custody. He also blasted the media for spreading what he called false information about the case. Near the end of his 25-minute statement, he claimed the murders weren’t premeditated and said, “there are few people in this world I loved more than my grandparents.”
“My grandma could always be counted on to lift my spirits … my grandfather was always a man to look up to, not a drinker, he always gave good advice on how to be a man.”
Though Boysen said “drugs had nothing to do with” the deaths, he didn’t offer any explanation for the killings.
“I hope some day my family can forgive me. I hope some day I can forgive myself, but I see that as unlikely,” he said.
The judge then sentenced him to two consecutive life prison terms.
Boysen was released from the Monroe Correctional Complex on March 8 after serving nine months of a 16-month sentence for attempted burglary.
His grandparents, Robert Taylor, 82, and Norma Taylor, 80, picked him up from prison that morning and spent the day with him running errands. That night, they hosted the welcome-home party celebrating his return.
According to charging documents, he was supposed to spend the night there and be picked up at noon the next day by his paternal aunt. When she arrived, however, there was no answer at the door.
A few hours later, Melanie Taylor let herself into the home with a key. She noticed her parents’ red 2001 Chrysler 300 was missing, as was her mother’s cellphone, according to the papers. The documents note that Norma Taylor was deaf and used her phone to communicate through text messages.
“After spending some time in the house waiting,” the charges say, Melanie Taylor “decided to look around” and noticed the unmade bed in the spare room where her son was supposed to have spent the night. Not long afterward, she found her parents dead in the room’s closet, according to the court documents.
Police said they had been strangled with a shoelace.
According to charging papers, Boysen stole their car, at least $5,200 in cash, sterling silverware and a significant amount of jewelry from the home, including his grandfather’s wedding ring.
Police say he pawned the jewelry in Kent and used his grandfather’s credit card at a nearby Fred Meyer to buy electronics, CDs, a suitcase and other items.
On March 10, Boysen dumped his grandparents’ car in Salem, Ore., bought another car with cash and checked into a motel in Lincoln City, according to the charges.
Two days later, a clerk at the motel recognized Boysen, who by then was the focus of a multistate manhunt. He was arrested after a standoff and booked into jail after being treated for self-inflicted cuts that nearly killed him.