Alex Baranyi and David
Anderson, a pair of high-school
dropouts from hell, 17, have been charged as adults with four counts of
murder for the senseless slayings of a Bellevue, Washington family of
four. The two boys are accused of killing Rose and William Wilson and
their daughters, Kimberly, 20, and Julia, 17.
Court papers show that Baranyi
confessed to the killings after his arrest. The first to die was
Kimberly who was strangled in a Bellevue park early January 4, 1997.
Then her parents and younger sister were bludgeoned and stabbed to death
in their nearby home the same day. In November, both teens dropped out
of the Off Campus School, an alternative high school program in Bellevue.
Before that, they attended Bellevue High.
Alex Baranyi, 17
David Anderson, 17
In Bellevue, Wash., a comfortable
Seattle suburb, it's easy to miss the pockets of despair amid the
prosperity. Yet the likes of Alex Baranyi are more common than some
would admit. Baranyi, now 18, whose parents had separated when he was 8,
had been taken to Pennsylvania by his father, Alex Sr., a software
consultant, then sent back to Washington to live with his mother,
Patricia, an educational assistant. Last November, Baranyi and his best
friend, David Anderson, 18, who had left home and moved in with friends,
dropped out of high school. At night they hung out with other kids at a
local bowling alley and at a Denny's, where they would sit drinking
coffee and killing time.
The void in their lives was filled with fantasy games.
In recent years, Baranyi and Anderson had become followers of so-called
goth—for gothic—subculture, in which devotees dress in black and wear
white makeup to give themselves a spectral look. Baranyi was also a fan
of Highlander, a TV series about an immortal sword-wielding hero; he
owned a sword collection himself and talked often of death. "Sometimes I
thought he might be sort of suicidal," says Dawn Kindschi, 17, an
acquaintance who had filed a complaint against Baranyi last year after
he allegedly beat her.
Despite his antisocial appearance, that was Baranyi's
only serious brush with the law—until this year. On Jan. 5 the body of
Kimberly Ann Wilson, 20, was found in a Bellevue park. She had been
clubbed with a baseball bat and strangled. When police went to the
Wilson home to deliver the news, they found Kim's parents, William, 52,
and Rose, 46, and her sister Julia, 17, bludgeoned and stabbed to death.
Acting on a tip, police brought Baranyi in for
questioning. He allegedly confessed to murdering Kim, a friend of
Anderson's, then to killing her family in the belief they might have
known she was meeting them. Later, authorities arrested Anderson as a
partner in the crime. The choice of Kim Wilson as victim may have been
arbitrary. Police say Baranyi told them he simply wanted to kill someone
because he was "in a rut." According to King County prosecutor Norm
Maleng, evidence suggests that Baranyi and Anderson, who will go on
trial in October, had committed the murders "for the sheer experience of
killing." To Kevin Wulff, principal at Bellevue High, the local outcry
over the slayings is a case of too little, too late. "We ignore [these
kids] and hope they go away," says Wulff, "and then we are horrified
when they commit these crimes."
By Gary Boynton
On 4 January 1997, two boys were playing in a park
in Bellevue, Wash., an upscale suburb east of Seattle, when they spotted
what they thought was a pile of clothes concealed by shrubs about five
feet off a trail. When the boys returned to the park the next morning
they soon realized what they had seen was a body. They ran home; one of
their mothers called the Bellevue Police Department.
At 11:30 a.m., Bellevue detectives responded to the scene, where they
found the body of a young woman, dressed in blue jeans, a white T-shirt
and “waffle-stomper” boots. Although she did not appear disheveled,
as if she had been involved in a struggle, there was a cord wrapped
around her neck, with which she obviously had been strangled.
Identification on the body indicated that the victim was Kimberly
Wilson, age 20, and that she lived only a few blocks from the park.
After securing and processing the crime scene, Det. Jeff Gomes, an
investigator from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, and
Senior Prosecutor Patti Eakes proceeded to the victim's home. Gomes,
although he’d been a cop for 23 years, was dreading informing
Wilson’s family of her death as he knocked on the front door of the
white, two-story, wood-frame house.
Even though there were three cars parked in front, and the outside
Christmas lights were on, the inside of the house appeared dark. When no
one answered, Gomes went to a sliding-glass door on the side of the
house. Finding it unlocked, he opened it, leaned into the house and
called out. Again receiving no reply, Gomes drew his gun and stepped
What he found upstairs was unlike anything the veteran detective had
ever seen. Blood was spattered on walls and ceilings. In the master
bedroom, the body of a middle-aged woman was lying in her bed, where she
evidently had been attacked. Her head had been crushed by repeated blows
from a heavy, blunt object, and her throat had through-and-through stab
wounds. Near the foot of another bed in the same room, lay the body of a
middle-aged man. Heavy blows, too, had crushed his skull, and he, too,
had suffered numerous penetrating stab wounds to the face, neck, and
Just down the hall, in another bedroom, lay the body of a teenage girl.
Unlike the other two victims, she had apparently been able to struggle
against her attacker. She had defensive injuries to her hands (stabbing
and slashing wounds) and her arms (bone broken by blunt impact). She,
too, had been beaten repeatedly in the face and head, and her throat and
head bore numerous stab wounds.
Interviews with neighbors soon identified the victims as Kim Wilson’s
17-year-old sister, Julia, and their parents, William and Rose Wilson.
William worked as an accountant for a steel firm in nearby Kirkland,
where he was reportedly well-liked by his co-workers and described by
his boss as “eager, very loyal, a good employee.” Rose worked as an
accounting supervisor at the University of Washington Library, where
colleagues described her as “friendly and outgoing.”
Julia was a senior at Bellevue High School, where she was recalled as
“a sweet, shy young girl.” She had a close circle of friends and was
said to have been excited about her recent acceptance to Central
Kimberly, who had graduated from the same high school in 1995, was
described as having a “strong-willed, independent streak, marching to
the beat of a different drummer.” She had joined AmeriCorps, President
Clinton’s national service program, and had recently been in San Diego
for basic training, before coming home for the holidays.
According to a high school counselor, Kimberly had her share of typical
teenager-parent clashes. “There was tension in the household during
her last couple of years in high school,” the counselor said. In fact,
Bellevue Police had been called to the Wilson home less than a week
before, Dec. 28, 1996, on a domestic disturbance call, stemming from a
dispute between Kimberly and her parents.
The Woodbridge neighborhood was terrified by the grisly murders,
especially because the police did not have any motive or any suspects.
Autopsies revealed that Kimberly had indeed been strangled with the rope
found around her neck. She had also been kicked or stomped on with
enough force to break three of her ribs and to injure her kidneys and
spleen. There was no evidence of sexual assault.
William, Rose, and Julia Wilson had all been stabbed in the neck and
beaten on their heads. No weapons were found in the house or yard.
As detectives continued to interview family, friends and acquaintances
of the Wilson family, they learned that some of Kimberly's friends were
into the “Gothic” lifestyle, which focuses on gloom and death. Goths
dress in dark clothing and wear dark makeup and many of them are into
role-playing games in which they pretend to be vampires, ghosts, witches,
or fallen angels. For many, it is just innocent fun, but for others,
particularly those with mental or emotional problems, the Gothic
obsession with the dark side of life can lead to suicide or even murder.
Although Kimberly Wilson was not a Goth herself, several of her friends
were part of such a group who liked to hang out late at night at the
Denny’s Restaurant in Bellevue’s Eastgate neighborhood, not far from
the Wilson family home. This “Saturday Night Denny’s Club” liked
to talk about role-playing games and their underlying themes of
eroticism and death. For most of them, it was a fun way to rebel and
establish their identities, but a few of these Goths and Goth-wannabes
seemed to take things a lot more seriously.
Detectives learned that two fringe members of the “Saturday Night
Denny’s Club,” Alex Baranyi and his best friend, David Anderson,
both 17, had often talked about committing murder. Their friends just
sloughed it off as idle ravings.
Investigators contacted Baranyi and Anderson at their residences. Both
youths claimed to have been together playing video games at Baranyi’s
home all night long on the night of the murders. Because the police were
looking for a distinctive shoe-tread pattern discovered at the scene,
each was questioned about their shoes. Baranyi showed the detectives a
pair of brown work boots, which he claimed were his only pair of shoes.
Detectives sought to confirm the statements of Baranyi and Anderson.
They learned that witnesses at the home where Baranyi lived disputed
their claims that they stayed home on the night of the murder. Police
also learned from another friend of Baranyi’s that Baranyi had a pair
of boots with tread similar to the one that had left a blood impression
at the crime scene. Bloody footprints found in the Wilson residence
indicated there were at least two individuals involved in the murders.
Detectives again spoke with Baranyi five days after the murder. After he
was advised of his Miranda rights, acknowledged that he understood them,
and waved them, he told the detectives that he and an accomplice, whom
he refused to name, murdered all of the Wilsons.
According to Baranyi, he first strangled Kimberly to death in the park.
Then, he said, he realized that she might have told her family that she
was intending to meet him that night, so he decided to kill them. He
went to her house with a baseball bat and a combat knife. Once inside,
he entered the parents’ bedroom and beat the sleeping Rose Wilson with
the bat. William Wilson woke up and attempted to intercede, but Baranyi
stabbed and beat him to death, before finishing Mrs. Wilson off with his
knife. He then went down the hall and did the same to Julia. Before
leaving the house, he took a telephone, a CD player and a VCR. He then
Later in the interview, Baranyi acknowledged that he did not act alone.
He said that he had an accomplice who beat Kimberly Wilson while he
strangled her, and who accompanied him to the Wilson residence to kill
her family. He steadfastly refused to name his accomplice, but did tell
the detectives that David Anderson was the only person he had ever
Baranyi told detectives that he had been planning to murder someone for
over a year, because he was “in a rut” and felt that he was becoming
Baranyi’s confession contained numerous details about the crime scene
and the manner of the victims’ deaths that could only have been known
by the murderers. For example, he described in detail the way in which
the ligature around Kimberly's neck had been tied, and the location of
each body in the Wilson house.
The night after Baranyi’s confession, detectives re-interviewed
Anderson. After waiving his rights, Anderson claimed that he had lied to
the detectives when he earlier told them that he was with Baranyi at the
time of the murders. He now claimed that he had not remained at Baranyi’s
residence on the night of Jan. 3 and the morning of Jan. 4. Instead, he
said, he spent the night driving alone in a truck that belonged to his
girlfriend’s father. He said that he spent hours driving aimlessly
around the freeways between Seattle and Bellevue.
Anderson told detectives that he knew that Baranyi had been planning to
murder the Wilsons. He also said that Baranyi had no relationship with
Kimberly, and, as far as he knew, had never been to her house. Anderson
said the only thing that Kim and Baranyi had in common was that they
were both friends of his.
The three people who lived in the same house as Baranyi contradicted
Anderson's version of events. According to these witnesses, they saw
Baranyi and Anderson leave that residence together at approximately
10:30 p.m. on Jan. 3. According to one of these witnesses, Baranyi was
carrying something long in the sleeve of his trench coat. She said that
she had remained awake until 3 a.m. the next morning and that neither
Baranyi nor Anderson returned to the house during that time. But,
another witness described seeing the pair, dressed completely in black,
returning to the residence at around 3:30 a.m. on the morning of Jan. 4.
According to the three housemates, when Baranyi and Anderson left the
residence on the night of the murders, they drove off in a small, black
pickup truck with a canopy on the back. This description matched the
truck that Anderson claimed to have driven around in that night.
Anderson’s girlfriend confirmed that Anderson had her father’s truck
during that period of time. But she said that Anderson had told her he
had simply sat in a park in the truck that night and early morning, and
she noticed that very little gas had been used in the truck during that
time. A distance of approximately eight blocks separates the park where
Kimberly's body was found from the house where her family was murdered.
During their interviews with Baranyi and Anderson, detectives obtained
written permission to search their residences. The search of Baranyi’s
house produced the Wilson’s telephone, CD player and VCR. Human blood
was found on the VCR; DNA tests confirmed that it matched William
Wilson’s genetic profile. Baranyi’s fingerprint was found on the CD
Police also recovered a pair of bloody shoelaces from a trashcan in
Baranyi’s bedroom. DNA tests revealed that the blood on the shoelaces
was consistent with William Wilson’s.
At Anderson’s residence, police seized a pair of brown-and-black boots
from his bedroom. Anderson’s girlfriend, who was living with him, and
his brothers confirmed that the boots belonged to Anderson. Numerous
bloodstains were found on the boots. DNA tests were performed and the
blood was determined to display the genetic profiles of both William and
Julia Wilson. Experts determined that some of the stains were consistent
with Anderson having been within several feet of Julia when her blood
spattered on the boots.
During their investigation, detectives interviewed numerous
acquaintances of Baranyi and Anderson. They learned the two were close
friends. Many witnesses described them as inseparable and said that
Anderson appeared to be Baranyi’s only friend. They shared a common
interest in the Gothic lifestyle, dressing in all black clothing,
sometimes with black trench coats. A neighbor jokingly referred to them
as “The Blues Brothers.” The two of them enjoyed playing Dungeons
and Dragons and other role-playing games, and had a mutual interest in
swords and knives.
Friends said that Baranyi wore his hair in a ponytail to emulate the
star of the "Highlander" television show, which features a
sword-wielding superhero. Witnesses said that Baranyi, whom they
described variously as quiet, weird, or antisocial, had dropped out of
Bellevue’s alternative high school a couple months before the murders
and was known to hang around Bellevue High School, where Anderson and
Julia Wilson were students during that time. It was also learned that
Baranyi had been kicked out of a couple of role-playing groups for
carrying the games too far.
Acquaintances of the suspects also told detectives that Baranyi and
Anderson had been discussing a plan to kill the Wilsons for more than a
year. According to one witness, he had a conversation with Anderson in
late 1995 during which Anderson discussed a plan to kill the Wilsons and
showed him a bat and knives that would be the murder weapons.
According to another witness, Baranyi and Anderson had compiled a “hit
list” of potential murder victims. This list included Kimberly Wilson.
Detectives also learned from a friend of Kimberly that Kimberly had
become aware of Anderson’s plan to commit a murder. Kimberly spoke
with her friend about this plan and said that she intended to confront
Anderson and attempt to dissuade him from pursuing it further.
A number of witnesses told detectives that the two suspects owned a
collection of knives and swords. Several acquaintances described seeing
Anderson, before the murders, with a large, fixed-blade knife with
“brass knuckles” on its handle. Despite repeated searches of both
suspects’ residences, this knife was never found.
Detectives impounded the truck that Anderson admitted was in his
possession on the night of the murders. In it were a cut part of a black
T-shirt, with the sleeves, and a piece of rope. A similar portion of a
cut T-shirt had been recovered from Julia's bedroom. Baranyi told
detectives that he had fashioned headgear from a black T-shirt, which he
wore into the Wilson house, and which, he said, he had lost there. The
rope found in the truck was indistinguishable from that used to strangle
A pair of wool socks was also found in the truck. The owner of the truck
told detectives that he usually kept several extra socks in the truck.
Baranyi told investigators that he wore socks on his hands during the
murders in the Wilson residence.
Criminalists from the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory found
blood on the passenger compartment floor mat of the truck. Although they
were able to confirm that it was blood using a presumptive test, further
DNA tests were unsuccessful in matching it to any particular person or
During his interview with detectives, Anderson stated that he had not
seen or spoken with Kimberly for almost a year. However, police
discovered that Anderson’s pager number was written on small piece of
paper in her bedroom. They also found a promissory note, signed by
Anderson and dated June 1996. The note promised that Kimberly would be
paid $500 by September 1996. This money was apparently a debt incurred
by Anderson during the course of the previous two years. Anderson had
told several people that he was angry that Kimberly insisted that he
owed her money and was pursuing payment. He told at least one person
that he was considering killing Kimberly because of this debt.
A number of photographs of Anderson had been found in Kimberly's bedroom
and detectives learned that Anderson and Kimberly had dated on-and-off
for several years. Shortly before the time of her death, Kimberly had
disclosed her homosexuality to several close friends. Anderson
complained to a friend that Kimberly refused to have sex with him. On
that occasion, and in several subsequent conversations with this friend,
Anderson declared his intent to kill Kimberly. He described a scenario
in which Baranyi would entice Kimberly to accompany him somewhere and
then Anderson would strangle or stab her to death.
Even though Baranyi continued to refuse to name his partner in the
Wilson murders, prosecutors felt that they had enough physical and
circumstantial evidence to convict Anderson along with him. Anderson was
arrested, but continued to deny his involvement in the killings.
Although both defendants were 17 at the time of the murders, they were
charged with first-degree murder as adults. Prosecutors planned to try
them together. The trial began in October 1998, but jury selection was
soon halted when the Washington State Supreme Court made a ruling that
made it easier for defendants to offer a diminished-mental-capacity
In light of the new ruling, Baranyi’s attorneys re-filed a motion to
allow the expert testimony of a San Diego-based psychologist, who had
diagnosed Baranyi as suffering from bipolar disorder, also know as manic
depression, which is characterized by moods alternating between extreme
excitability and withdrawal.
King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman ruled that under the
new guidelines, Baranyi was entitled to pursue a diminished-capacity
defense, and that in order to do so fairly, he and Anderson should be
tried separately. Spearman also ruled that Baranyi’s confession was
admissible, but that any references to an accomplice must be edited out,
in order not to prejudice the case against Anderson. Believing that such
a redacted version would wrongly give jurors the impression that Baranyi
committed the murders alone, prosecutors decided not to use the
confession at all.
Prosecutors resumed presenting their case against Baranyi, linking him
with Anderson, whom they believed had instigated the plan to kill
In order to link the two to the murders of Rose, William and Julia
Wilson, they presented the testimony of medical examiners indicating
that these victims were killed with a sword and a baseball bat, raising
the possibility of more than one attacker.
Numerous friends and acquaintances of Baranyi and Anderson testified
that the two youths were best friends and that they frequently acted out
Gothic fantasies by roll-playing games such as “Dungeons and
Other witnesses recalled how Baranyi and Anderson had often talked about
their desire to commit murder with baseball bats and knives.
To bolster the claim that Baranyi's mental capacity had been diminished
by his bipolar disorder at the time of the murders, the defense put
psychologist Karen Froming on the stand. Her testimony turned out to be
among the most chilling of the trial.
According to Dr. Froming, Baranyi had never felt better about himself
and his prospects than he did at the time right before the killings. The
day before the slayings, his boss at a Seattle construction company had
complimented his work ethic and given him a raise. But just as it looked
like his life was turning around, he got the word from his best friend,
David Anderson, that “the plan” was on. The plan was to kill
According to Froming, Baranyi had been in a deep depression for months
and had told his mother that he was considering suicide. He had no plans
for the future and found little personal satisfaction outside of work.
During this period of despair, Baranyi became more and more emotionally
dependent upon his only friend, David Anderson, for whom he would do
Froming testified that Baranyi told her that during the slayings he felt
like “he was watching himself,” and didn’t think it was real. The
psychologist speculated that Baranyi was incapable of differentiating
between role-playing fantasies of swords and sorcerers and the actual
killings. She also said that Baranyi had told her that Anderson had
beaten William and Rose Wilson with an aluminum baseball bat, but that
he himself had attacked Julia and strangled Kimberly.
Baranyi’s parents sat in the courtroom as Froming testified. His
father fidgeted, while his mother worked quietly on her needlework, an
embroidery of the 23rd Psalm.
Three weeks after the trial began, the jury quickly found Alex Baranyi
guilty of all four counts of aggravated first-degree murder. Baranyi
swallowed hard when the verdicts were announced, but otherwise showed no
Two months later, Baranyi was sentenced to four consecutive life terms,
without possibility of parole. Relatives of the Wilson family, who had
sat through all the trial, sat quietly in the courtroom as Judge
Spearman announced the life sentences.
When asked if he had anything to say, Baranyi replied, “No, I don’t
One week after Baranyi was put away for life, Anderson went on trial for
his part in the murders. Prosecutors painted a picture of a charming,
manipulative young man, bent on revenge.
According to Deputy Prosecutor Patti Eakes, Kimberly Wilson had once had
a crush on Anderson, even though he was three years younger. She thought
he was cute and fun. Anderson, according to Eakes, thought that Kimberly
was awkward, unattractive and lucky to know him, but he did let her
associate with him and was not above borrowing money from her.
Eakes told the jury that Anderson was outraged when Kimberly insisted
that he repay her the money she had loaned him. “He was furious that
she asked him to pay this money and he was filled with hate. He not only
wanted to destroy her, but wanted to destroy everything associated with
her. He wanted to destroy her entire family.”
Although much of the case against Anderson paralleled the case against
Baranyi, there were significant differences. Baranyi had confessed to
the murders and discussed them in detail with Dr. Froming, whereas
Anderson still denied any involvement in the killings, blaming them all
on Baranyi. This made it necessary for the prosecution to rely more on
Four days into the trial, Anderson requested a new lawyer. He claimed
that his attorney, Michael Kolker, was not providing a good defense and
was ignoring his client’s suggestions about how to cross-examine
witnesses. Judge Spearman denied Anderson’s request for new council.
More than a month into the trial, a juror was dismissed for making the
comment, “He’s guilty” in jest to a fellow juror.
Several new witnesses testified against Anderson. A fellow inmate
claimed that Anderson had confessed to him that he killed Kimberly and
had been present when a friend killed her family. Even more damning, a
friend of Anderson’s testified that Anderson had invited him to join
in the murder plot, even showing him knives and baseball bats and later
saying, “We’re going to take the Wilsons out.”
An ex-girlfriend of Anderson’s testified that he had always had “a
marked fascination with knives,” often carrying a combat knife in a
nylon shoulder sheath under his clothes. He had also told her that a
baseball bat would make a good weapon.
The defense presented Anderson’s former high-school sweetheart. She
defended him, portraying his behavior as normal and not at all alarming
to her. She told the jury that she liked knives, too, and that she and
Anderson often went to a knife shop together to look at the merchandise,
Forensic scientist Kim Duddy testified that there were more than 100
bloody footprints found in the Wilson home. Although police had
confiscated a pair of blood-spattered boots from Anderson’s house,
Duddy had to admit under cross-examination that she was not able to
match them to any of the footprints.
Despite all the damaging testimony against Anderson, one juror held out
against conviction, resulting in a hung jury. Prosecutors would have to
retry the case.
Anderson fired his lawyers and faced his second murder trial with a new
defense team more to his liking. It began almost a year to the day after
proceedings had first begun against him and Baranyi. For the most part,
the second trial was a carbon copy of the first, with one notable
exception. Rather than trying to pin the murders exclusively on Baranyi,
Anderson’s lawyers now claimed that there had been a second person
involved, but it was not Anderson.
The jury had no great difficulty reaching a verdict this time, deciding
in six hours that Anderson was guilty on all four counts of aggravated
first-degree murder. As the verdict was read, Anderson sat
straight-backed and expressionless. His parents wept.
Like Baranyi, Anderson was sentenced to four consecutive life terms,
without possibility of parole.
Existential Murder: The Nietzsche
By Katherine Ramsland -
Alex Baranyi had decided that he would
one day kill someone, but that's because, as a psychologist later said,
he was addicted to role-playing games. He had no plans to actually act
on that idea. But his best friend, David Anderson, realized that when he
formed a murder plan against a former girlfriend, Alex was the perfect
person to do it with him. From the evidence gathered after the fact, it
seems that Anderson initiated the quadruple homicide, targeted the
victims, and decided what they were going to do.
It took place on January 3, 1997, in
Bellevue, Washington. The two high-school dropouts, both 17, lured Kim
Wilson, 20, into a park to murder her. They then entered her father's
home and massacred Bill Wilson, his wife, and his other daughter. Their
activities were documented in their trial transcripts, the Seattle
Times, and a book, Deadly Secrets, written by reporter Putsata Reang.
They knew Kim, so it was easy to get
her out into a local park at night. Apparently they then adopted their
roles from the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (Baranyi was "Slicer
Thunderclap"), and one or both of them strangled her to death, stomped
on her ribs, and left her there. Baranyi later told this version of
events and took credit for the other murders.
He said that in the Wilson home, he
had used a baseball bat to beat Mrs. Wilson to death in her bed. She
never awakened (though he later pierced her neck several times with a
long knife), but Mr. Wilson woke up and struggled with Baranyi, so he
stabbed the man until he slumped next to the bed. Then Baranyi looked
for Kim's younger sister, Julia. He stabbed her to death as she
attempted to defend herself. One of them left a large, clear imprint of
a stomper boot on Bill Wilson's shirt. A blood and print match later
implicated Anderson, as did the blood on his shoelaces.
As with Leopold and Loeb, and Parker
and Tulloch, when the heat was on, one of them broke down under pressure.
However, despite the evidence of Anderson's involvement, Baranyi did not
implicate him. He claimed that he had been astounded that they had
really set out to murder someone, but he had done it for a person he
would not name. Nevertheless, based on physical evidence, Anderson was
arrested and several of his friends admitted to the police that he had
often talked about murdering someone, including a family.
Both were tried and convicted of
premeditated aggravated murder. From the evidence, it seems that the
trigger may have been Kim asking Anderson for money that he owed her.
And he was about to turn 18, the prosecution theory went, so he had
acted while still a juvenile.
Psychologists appeared as expert
witnesses in Baranyi's trial. For the defense, Dr. Karen Froming
explained that he suffered from bipolar disorder and from low self-esteem,
such that he would form an attachment to someone else and might do
anything to keep that attachment alive. His abandonment by his parents
had affected his ability to feel good about himself, and in addition to
that, he had a genetic legacy of depression.
Together the boys had developed an
elaborate fantasy life involving swordplay, wizards and dragons. Dr.
Froming believed that Baranyi had been following Anderson's directions
when he had killed the Wilson family. She did not think he had the
capability of forming premeditated intent.
And yet in his fantasy journal, it's
clear that Baranyi equated murder with a deified state: "I have done the
unspeakable. Death and killing neither worries or scares me... Within
our hands we hold the flame of life. I have done the unspeakable. I have
become a god..." In line with Goldberg's theory, he also wrote how his
life had been one insult after another. His ego had been torn down "until
only emptiness filled me... when I became empty, I filled that space
with pain, anger, hated and evil."
The rebuttal witness for the
prosecution was Dr. Robert Wheeler. He had administered the same
psychological battery of assessment tests as Dr. Froming but derived a
different interpretation: antisocial personality disorder, which
involved being impulsive, aggressive, and lacking in empathy or remorse.
He said that Baranyi knew what he was doing—had even admitted as much—and
was not suffering from any form of diminished capacity.
No psychological defense was offered
for Anderson, because his defense attorneys throughout several trials
relied on a lack of physical evidence to prove he was not part of the
deadly scheme. In the end, both boys lost and were convicted.And such
acts, with their godlike aftermath, are not limited to males. One male/female
team, enveloped in nihilistic ideas, went after children.
killer gets life in prison
By Elaine Porterfield -
Saturday, January 8,
resolution to a Bellevue murder spree came yesterday as a judge
sentenced David Anderson to life in prison without parole for
slaying a family of four.
Before a packed courtroom, King County Superior Court
Judge Jeffery Ramsdell briefly stared down from the bench at Anderson,
20, before speaking.
"A jury unilaterally convicted you for four . . .
brutal and senseless murders," Ramsdell said. "I will resist the
temptation to unnecessarily belabor this and say anything more."
With that, Ramsdell handed down the sentence.
Relatives of the victims -- Bill, Rose, Kimberly and
Julia Wilson -- attended the sentencing, but declined to make any
remarks to the judge. Anderson, a slim figure, also remained silent,
although he, too, had the right to address the court.
Anderson was convicted Dec. 17 after two trials. The
first time, a jury split 11-1 in favor of conviction. In November 1998,
his friend and partner in the slayings, Alex Baranyi, was also convicted
of four counts of aggravated murder.
Baranyi, who confessed, is also serving a life
sentence without possibility of release. He gave little motive for the
killings, except to say he was in a rut and that he and his friend
wanted to experience something "truly phenomenal."
Prosecutors say Anderson had talked for years about
committing a murder before the Wilsons were slain, and on numerous
occasions specifically discussed killing that particular family and
stealing their property.
Both men were 17 at the time of the slayings in
January 1997, too young for prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Anderson and Baranyi strangled Kim
Wilson, 20, at a Woodridge-neighborhood park in south Bellevue and
dumped her body in bushes. They then crept into her family's nearby home
with knives and a baseball bat, police say, where they beat and stabbed
her parents, Bill and Rose, and her 17-year-old sister, Julia.
The weapons were never found.
Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Baird has called the slayings
"somewhere between murder and genocide."
His co-counsel, Patricia Eakes, was reflective after
the sentencing. Memories of the case will never leave her, she said,
because she was with police when the bodies of Bill, Rose and Julia were
Eakes and the officers had gone to the home to inform
them that Kimberly's body had been found.
"I've never discovered bodies before," she said. "It's
just difficult to describe how I feel about everything. It was such a
shock. We thought we were going to the home to notify them of the death
of their daughter. It was like a bad dream."
Anderson's second trial lasted three months. Eakes
said earlier she believes they did a better job presenting evidence to
The defense maintained that Anderson had nothing to
do with the murders, arguing that boots stained with the blood of Julia
and Bill Wilson may have been planted in his bedroom by the real killer.
Pete Connick, one of Anderson's attorneys, said he
has already filed an appeal in the case, based on numerous unsuccessful
defense motions seeking a new trial.
"We believe there are some pretty serious issues,"
Connick said, giving no details.
Anderson's parents, Leslie and Bruce Anderson,
attended the sentencing, but left the courtroom grim and silent. They
were present nearly every time their son was in court.
Both are convinced he was wrongly convicted, Connick
"No question about it, he's innocent," he said.
David Anderson, 20, is
escorted out of King County Superior Court after being sentenced to life
for the murder of a family in Bellevue in 1997. Wanda J. Benvenutti/P-I
Alex Baranyi Jr.