Office Shooter Admits Fake Illness
|by DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - A man who said he killed seven co-workers to prevent the Holocaust acknowledged Friday that he had researched how to fake mental illness.
Michael McDermott admitted in testimony Friday that he lied to doctors for years to get the antidepressants he preferred. He also said he typed "how to fake mental illness" into an Internet search engine and ordered a book on malingering.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Tom O'Reilly accused McDermott of making up a complex tale to convince jurors he's insane.
"After many years of playing these games, after many years of lying to doctors, after doing research on how to fake mental illness ... you're very good at concocting elaborate fantasy tales, aren't you?" O'Reilly said. "This is just one big game for you, isn't it?"
"Of course not," McDermott replied.
McDermott repeated his insistence that the archangel St. Michael appeared to him 12 days before he shot colleagues at Edgewater Technology Inc. in Wakefield. He said St. Michael told him he could travel back in time and prevent millions of deaths if he killed Adolf Hitler and the "architects" of the Holocaust.
In one exchange, McDermott acknowledged that in test-firing weapons two days before the attacks, he was concerned the noise would attract the attention of police.
"Because you were doing something wrong?" O'Reilly asked.
"That's the reason they would have arrested me, yes," McDermott replied.
McDermott, 43, finished his testimony Friday morning after testifying for four hours Thursday about the shooting the day after Christmas 2000.
Prosecutors say McDermott planned the slayings in retaliation for the company's plan to withhold some of his wages to pay $5,600 in back taxes.
The defense says McDermott is a deeply disturbed man. In questioning Thursday, defense lawyer Kevin Reddington walked his client through his history of mental problems. He tried to show a pattern of hallucinations that culminated in the office shootings.
Testifying about the shootings, McDermott said he had been transported to 1940 and was in Hitler's bunker, hearing Hitler's thoughts.
"The whole idea was to prevent Nazi supremacy," McDermott said.
McDermott described how he walked through the office firing his AK-47 and shotgun, but he claimed he saw Nazis, not colleagues.
"There were two men and a woman in front of me. Both of the men had swastika armbands. I immediately shot both of the men," McDermott said.
Under questioning from his attorney, McDermott said he shot three more "Nazis," then heard "Hitler's thoughts" coming from the accounting office, where victims Paul Marceau and Rose Manfredi were killed.
"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."
After the shootings, McDermott returned to the reception area, where he was arrested. He told the jury he died at a police station in Berlin from the painkillers and vodka he downed before the shootings.
Nearly a dozen family members of the shooting victims got up and left the courtroom during McDermott's explanation of the killings, some in tears.
McDermott testified that he hears voices telling him what to do. He also said he's tried to commit suicide at least three times and was raped several times as a boy.
McDermott told the jury the archangel St. Michael gave him his mission moments after Edgewater informed him that his wages would be withheld.
"I felt great. For the first time in my life I felt I could achieve what everyone takes for granted - that I could have a soul and go to heaven," he said.
When police arrived at Edgewater moments after the slayings, they found McDermott with the weapons at his feet.
"I don't speak German," was all he said as he was being arrested, police said.
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