Michael McDermott


Michael McDermott

A.K.A.: "The Dot Com Killer" - "Mucko"

Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Revenge - Claimed he had "Travelled back in time and killed Hitler and the last 6 Nazis"
Number of victims: 7
Date of murders: December 26, 2000
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: September 4, 1958

Victims profile: Janice Haggerty, 46 / Jennifer Bragg Capobianco, 29 / Cheryl Troy, 50 / Rose Manfredi, 48 / Louis Javelle, 58 / Paul Marceau, 36 / Craig Wood, 29 (co-workers)
Method of murder: Shooting (AK-47 variant, 12-gauge shotgun, and .32 caliber pistol)
Location: Wakefield, Massachusetts, USA
Status: Sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole in 2002

The Wakefield massacre occurred on Tuesday, December 26, 2000, at the Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Massachusetts, United States, during which the gunman, Michael "Mucko" McDermott, an application support employee, shot and killed seven co-workers.

He was found by police sitting calmly and stated that he didn't speak German. At trial, he stated that he was born without a soul and that God had allowed him to earn a soul by traveling back in time to kill Nazis. However, the prosecution asserted that the killings were motivated by his employer's garnishing of his wages to the IRS, to pay back taxes.

The weapons he used were an AK-47 variant, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a .32 caliber pistol. He fired off a total of 37 rounds, shooting his victims in the back of the head repeatedly.

He was found guilty of seven counts of first degree murder and sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In the court session following the crimes, McDermott claimed he had "Travelled back in time and killed Hitler and the last 6 Nazis."

In 2008 this case was studied on the psychology programme Most Evil.


Janice Haggerty, 46, office manager

Jennifer Bragg Capobianco, 29, marketing and a mother

Cheryl Troy, 50, vice president of human resources

Rose Manfredi, 48, accountant in payroll department

Louis Javelle, 58, director of consulting and a father of four

Paul Marceau, 36, development technician and avid spinner

Craig Wood, 29, human resources

Michael McDermott

Chalk this one to the IRS. On December 26, 2000, a Massachussets software tester allegedly gunned down seven co-workers at their Internet consulting company because he may have been upset by a request by the IRS to garnisheed his wages to pay back taxes.

Michael McDermott, 42, wielding a semiautomatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol, made his way through the offices of Edgewater Technology, leaving in his wake a trail of spent shotgun shells, bullet casings, and the bodies of four women and three men with whom he worked.

"Everything appears to be targeted at the individuals, rather than indiscriminate spraying of gunfire," said Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley. "The victims were at their work stations... The whole thing took between five and 10 minutes."

Two people were killed in the reception area, three others in the hallway, and the last two in the accounting office. To get to the last two victims McDermott blew open the door of the accounting office by shooting the lock out with a shotgun blast. Police found McDermott sitting silently in the reception area, with his weapons within reach and a tote bag filled with ammo. Police officers wrestled the 6-foot-2, 300-pound suspect to the ground and arrested him without gunfire. Co-workers and neighbors described the former U.S. Navy submarine electrician as quiet, surly, quirky and very private.

In a statement, the company said McDermott's actions "apparently stem from occurrences in his personal life." Coakley said McDermott did not have a permit for any of the weapons he was carrying nor did he have a prior criminal record. The victims were identified as Jennifer Bragg-Capobianco; Janice Hagerty, a receptionist; Louis Javelle; Rose Manfredi, 49, an accountant; Paul Marceau; Cheryl Troy, who was the human resources director; and Craig Wood, 29, of Haverhill.

The Internet consulting firm, Edgewater, employs approximately 240 people in Massachusetts, said John Cooley, director of investor relations. The company is in the process of moving its headquarters from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to Wakefield, about 10 miles north of downtown Boston. . The company also has offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

While searching his home police found computer equipment, a will, gun cases and ammunition, several "Dungeon and Dragons" books, a passport, blasting caps, bomb-making literature and three gallons of liquid nitric acid, a substance used in the manufacture nitroglycerin. In his work locker they found a semiautomatic rifle with a sniper scope, computer equipment, and more live ammunition. In his car they found an envelope containing a letter from the IRS with the levy information. Perhaps indicating his mental state leading to the rampage,

McDermott quoted on his answering machine a chroniclly depressed android from the "Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy": "Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and what does it have me doing? Reduced to answering the phones. Phones. Oh, how I hate the phones. They're so depressing."

During his arraignment Mcdermott pleaded not guilty to seven counts of murder. His lawyer also noted that he had been under psychiatric care and needed to take medication. His elderly parents attended the court hearing and commented through their lawyer that they were "devastated" by the massacre.

According to prosecutors McDermott had been stockpiling weapons and ammunition before his workplace rampage and had practicing firing in the woods near his home. He allegedly brought the ammunition and weapons to his workplace on Christmas night, then returned the next morning and gunned down his co-workers, one of them after she greeted him with "Good morning."

McDermott's defense attorney, Kevin Reddington, said, "I just think the indictments speak volumes," signaling that he may pursue an insanity defense.

Jury rejects insanity claims, convicts "Mucko" of first-degree murder

April 24, 2002

He spoke of archangels, going back in time to shoot Nazis and believes he's dead, but a jury rejected those claims Wednesday when it found Michael "Mucko" McDermott guilty on all counts in the shooting deaths of his seven co-workers.

After almost 16 hours of deliberations over three days, McDermott was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder for the Dec. 26, 2000, shooting at his former workplace, an Internet company in Wakefield, Mass.

Judge R. Malcolm Graham sentenced McDermott to seven consecutive life terms — one for each victim. As court officers led McDermott away in handcuffs following the sentencing, courtroom observers cheered and applauded.

The burly, bushy-haired defendant — who sat through much of the trial reading the Bible — showed no emotion as the verdict was read in a Cambridge courtroom. Victims' relatives who filled the courtroom broke down in tears or smiled after hearing the first guilty verdict read.

Calling McDermott a "weak, cowardly, pathetic loser," Dan Hagerty, husband of victim Janice Hagerty, spoke in court after the verdict was announced and talked about how his late wife was now buried in the cemetery where the couple taught their daughter to ride her bike.

"I feel such anger and sorrow when I think of the events that will be coming up for my daughter that Janice won't be there for," Hagerty said.

As several relatives of victims spoke, McDermott sat emotionless in his chair at the defense table, his face buried in a book. He never once looked at those who were speaking.

Some relatives said they were especially angered by McDermott's claims of insanity during the trial and asked the judge to give him the maximum penalty allowable under the law.

"Michael McDermott has victimized the family and friends of seven victims twice — first on Dec. 26, 2000, and now he has dragged us through this long trial," said David Marceau, brother of victim Paul Marceau. "He trivializes the death of seven precious people by fabricating this story to mask his guilt."

Kevin Reddington, McDermott's lawyer, requested concurrent terms for his client. Prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly, however, asked that each victim be remembered in their own way, and requested consecutive sentences.

"Michael McDermott is owed no mercy by the court, by the families, by anyone," O'Reilly said. He deserves the ultimate punishment which is not allowed in Massachusetts."

There is no death penalty in Massachusetts. Had the jury found him insane, McDermott would have been committed to a mental hospital for an indefinite period of time rather than being sent to prison.

During the trial, prosecutors contended that McDermott, a software tester, was angry because of $5,500 in back taxes he owed to the Internal Revenue Service that his employer was about to garnish from his wages.

McDermott took the stand to testify he was commissioned by St. Michael the Archangel to stop the Holocaust, an act that would allow him to earn a soul, he said. He also said that he believes that he was arrested by German police and that he died shortly after in a German police station.

McDermott said he is in purgatory, a place where Roman Catholics believe one goes temporarily when they are not yet worthy to go to heaven, and that he believed that his lawyer, Kevin Reddington, was his guardian angel.

But on the stand, McDermott was confronted with evidence seized from his own computer that he had researched "how to fake mental illness." Prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly argued that the evidence also showed that he purchased a book on how to malinger or feign illness.

McDermott admitted he did such research, but said he did so only to learn how to appear sane and stay out of a mental hospital.

Murder Charges In Workplace Shooting

Motive May Have Been Related To Withholding Of Back Taxes

Feb. 15, 2001

(AP) A grand jury on Thursday indicted the man suspected of systematically executing seven co-workers at a Wakefield Internet company the day after Christmas with seven counts of murder and a variety of weapons charges.

Michael McDermott, a 42-year-old software engineer, allegedly used a semiautomatic rifle and 12-gauge shotgun to kill his co-workers at Edgewater Technology Inc. Prosecutors have said he was angry over a government demand that the company withdraw back taxes from his paychecks.

McDermott's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, has said McDermott was undergoing psychiatric treatment and taking medication, and that he may pursue an insanity defense.

Reddington did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.

On Jan. 18, a Malden District Court judge ordered McDermott to Bridgewater State Hospital for a psychological evaluation. He has pleaded innocent to seven murder charges.

McDermott joined Edgewater in March and was described by coworkers as strange and quirky.

In the hours after the shooting, authorities searched McDermott's home and office space. In his Haverhill apartment they found bomb-making chemicals, blasting caps and magazines on explosives.

A Middlesex grand jury indicted McDermott on seven counts of murder, three counts unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a large capacity firearm, and unlawful possession of a large capacity feeding device.

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office on Thursday released autopsy reports detailing which weapons were used and where the victims were shot.

Prosecutors said that McDermott went to Edgewater on Christmas Day and left behind a stash of weapons: an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle with an attached 60-round, large capacity feeding device; a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun; a .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol; a bolt action rifle and a bag filled with ammunition boxes.

The next day, at about 11:10 a.m., he took out the shotgun and the AK47, and, authorities said, began a rampage that claimed the lives of seven co-workers: Janice Hagerty, 46; Cheryl Troy, 50; Craig Wood, 29; Jennifer Bragg Capobianco, 29; Louis Javelle, 58; Paul Marceau, 36; and Rose Manfredi, 48.

Prosecutors said he did not have a license to carry any of the firearms.

The autopsies showed that:

Troy was shot five times with the AK47, sustaining gunshot wounds to the head, right arm and torso;

Hagerty was shot twice with the AK47, receiving wounds to her head and torso;

Javelle was shot three times with the AK47 and the shotgun, receiving wounds to his head and torso;

Wood was shot five times with the AK47 and was wounded in the head, legs and right arm;

Capobianco was shot four times in the torso with the AK47;

Marceau was shot six times with the AK47 and the shotgun to his leg, right arm and torso;

Manfredi was shot five times with the AK47 and the shotgun in he legs and head.

At the end of the rampage, 49 spent AK47 shell casings and six spent shotgun casings were left behind, authorities said.

McDermott is tentatively scheduled to be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on Feb. 22.

McDermott was born Michael McDermod Martinez in Plymouth to Raymond and Rosemary Martinez. He reportedly changed his name because he wanted to sound Irish, not Hispanic.

In 1978, he joined the Navy, and he served six years aboard the nuclear submarine USS Narwhal. He was an electrician and was honorably discharged as a petty officer second class.

In 1982, he began work as auxiliary power plant operator at Maine Yankee nuclear power plant, staying until he was fired in 1988. During that time, he showed signs of mental illness. In 1987, he tried to commit suicide and filed a workers' compensation claim after his was fired, citing his "stress-induced suicide attempt." He settled for $85,000.

He later worked in research and development for nearly 10 years at Duracell, where he left voluntarily in February.

Portrait Of A Killer

Monday, Jan. 08, 2001

Every few weeks for six years, Michael McDermott drove up to an hour to Dedham, Mass., to donate blood platelets. He went to the Red Cross there because it was the only one in the area with the equipment required for the involved procedure--which takes two hours, about twice as long as ordinary blood donation. McDermott gave voluntarily, receiving no payment in return. On the lower right of his car's rear bumper, he pasted a sticker: GIVE BLOOD.

But last week McDermott chose to draw blood. The morning after Christmas, McDermott, 42, dressed in a plaid shirt and jeans, was chatting about video games with a colleague at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Mass., where he wrote code for and tested the company's software. Just after 11 a.m., however, he strolled through the lobby with an AK-47 assault rifle, shotgun and semiautomatic pistol. When a co-worker asked, "Where are you going with that?" he responded, "Human resources." He then shot to death two employees at reception, headed down the hall to the human-resources department, picked off three people and proceeded to accounting, where three other workers were barricaded. McDermott blasted through the door and gunned down two. (The third employee survived by concealing herself beneath a desk.) "No one saw it coming," said a former employee who asked to remain anonymous. "I was talking to one guy who was sitting in the conference room when the first bullets were fired. The bullets flew through the glass. They had no idea what was going on. They hit the ground, and one individual had glass all in his hair." McDermott then returned to the lobby, sat in a chair within reach of a black tote bag packed with ammunition and waited for the police.

Money troubles seem to have triggered his rampage. The burly engineer hunted down the two departments--accounting and human resources--that were about to garnishee his wages to pay overdue taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. McDermott had complained to colleagues about the garnishment and had asked for a cash advance a week before Christmas. The request was denied by one of the victims. The last straw, however, may have been a call he received at 11:07 a.m. on the day of the shooting. A Chrysler representative informed him that his 1994 Plymouth was going to be repossessed. According to the Boston Globe, he responded blithely, "I won't be needing it. Come pick it up."

There had been one warning. Haverhill police received a call at 11:40 p.m. on Christmas Eve reporting gunshots. Investigators learned that a man driving a sedan with the license plate MUCKO had been spotted in a wooded area where they later found a handful of shotgun shells. McDermott was nicknamed "Mucko" by a nephew who couldn't pronounce his first name. "We didn't encounter McDermott," says Sergeant Stephen Brighi. "If luck had been on our side, history could have possibly been changed."

The second of Richard and Rosemary Martinez's four children, McDermott exchanged his Hispanic surname for a slight variation on his middle one (McDermod) in 1980, four years after he joined the Navy. He served on the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Narwhal, an assignment that required rigorous psychological screening. However, says Bruce Joy, one of his crewmates, "when somebody violated his personal space and got too close to him he responded by sneezing directly in the guy's face." Even so, says Joy, "in the bizarre world of the submarine community there was nothing that would suggest that he would do what he did." McDermott worked as a nuclear-reactor operator at the Maine Yankee plant after leaving the Navy but abandoned the highly specialized job after six years of training, just when it should have begun paying dividends.

It is unclear what he did for the next few years, but he eventually joined the Duracell company and married a childhood sweetheart, Monica Sheehan. McDermott summed up that experience in 1997 on a website for Narwhal veterans: "Well, I came back to the land of my youth and married a childhood friend. Lasted three and a half years before she split." His wife moved away to a Chicago suburb. In the meantime, the man who had met the strict weight limits to work on a sub ballooned to 350 lbs.

The answering machine at his one-bedroom apartment the day after the killing went, "Hello, this is Michael's computer. Here I am...brain the size of a planet, and what does he have me doing?...answering the phone." It was a playful reference to the sci-fi cult classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In his home, police found fuses, blasting caps and three gallons of nitric acid in a cardboard box labeled DANGEROUS: DO NOT MOVE. McDermott had a firearms-identification card for rifles and shotguns that expired in 1999. Neighbors remember him as an unsmiling presence, but by Christmas he seemed to be in good spirits. "I've never seen him cheery, but he was acting cheery on Christmas," says his neighbor Kevin Forzese.

"This was a methodical undertaking," insisted prosecutor Thomas O'Reilly at the arraignment, while McDermott's parents sat in the front row. "He specifically targeted the individuals we believe he shot." McDermott's lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf and, in a move that suggests he might pursue an insanity defense, asked that McDermott be allowed to continue taking his psychotropic medication.

It will be left to the court to map the journey of a blood donor turned life taker. Only last August, a man named Michael McDermott who used the handle "Mucko" was preaching peace in an Internet discussion about explosives. He reprimanded someone looking to buy land mines: "It would seem that some 'Christians' have forgotten the Sixth Commandment. It is hard to imagine Jesus resorting to land mines." The commandment is Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Photograph taken December 26, 2000 on Foundry Street, Wakefield outside Edgewater Technology. Wakefield Officer George Barry and Sergeant George Thistle lead Michael McDermott from building after he was taken into custody for the workplace murder of seven of his co-workers, Lt. John MacKay and an unidentified officer in the background. Wakefield officers arrived at the business moments after receiving reports of shots fired inside the building. Upon making an entry into the business these officers located the heavily armed McDermott and placed him into custody.

Michael McDermott mugshot

Michael McDermott being led to his arraignment in December 2000. (AP)

Michael McDermott

Michael McDermott in court on Thursday, April 18, 2002. (AP Photo)

Michael McDermott of Haverill, Mass. , who was convicted in the office shootings of seven co-workers at Edgewater Technologies in Wakefield, Mass. on Dec. 26, 2000, appears at a pre-trial hearing at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston in this Oct. 22, 2001 file photo. A stray reference to the Sept. 11 terror attacks did not unfairly taint McDermott's trial, the state's highest court ruled Friday, April 13, 2007.