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Title: Slayings Described In Brutal Detail

Source: Eastside Journal, October 13th, 1998

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Slayings described in brutal detail

Tuesday, October 13, 1998

Attorney: Baranyi too depressed to have planned crime

By Tracy Johnson
Journal Reporter

Kim Wilson was planning to return to her San Diego job with AmeriCorps, but she spent her last moments in a Bellevue park, struggling and gasping for air.

Julia Wilson was planning to attend Western Washington University, but her life ended trying to fend off a fierce attack in the doorway of her bedroom, just down the hall from the bloodied room where her parents also were slain.

The Bellevue family could not have known “they had been picked to die,'' that the Christmas they'd celebrated a week before would be their last, deputy prosecutor Patricia Eakes said yesterday in an opening statement for the trial of Alex Baranyi, one of two teens charged with the murders.

They could not have known, she said, that two neighborhood boys who played fantasy games and waged mock sword-fights had decided the ultimate experience would be murder.

“Alex Baranyi saw murder as an opportunity -- it was an opportunity, in his words, to experience something that was truly phenomenal,''  Eakes said.

“He wanted to hear the sound of a baseball bat as he crushed a human skull -- He wanted to feel what it was like to plunge a knife into human flesh.''

Baranyi's attorney, Kathy Lynn, did not dispute that the January 1997 crime was brutal and gruesome. She did not even dispute that Baranyi, now 19, was there.

But Lynn urged jurors to consider “another part of the story'' '' Baranyi's troubled childhood and toxic willingness to do anything for his best friend, David Anderson, who was granted a separate quadruple-murder trial last week.

Baranyi was depressed and too mentally impaired to have planned a crime, Lynn said.

He is charged with four counts of aggravated murder for the deaths of William and Rose Wilson and their daughters, Kim, 20, and Julia, 17. Kim Wilson was strangled in a Woodridge neighborhood park, and the others were beaten and stabbed in their nearby home.

If convicted, Baranyi will spend the rest of his life in prison. His trial continues today, and Anderson's trial will be scheduled when Baranyi's is over.

Relatives and friends of the Wilson family sat together in the King County Superior Courtroom yesterday, some weeping as they listened to appalling details of the slayings. Eakes laid out a brutal crime she said had been planned for two years.

After Baranyi strangled Kim Wilson with a rope, Eakes said he and Anderson crept into her family's unlocked home. There, Baranyi began stabbing William Wilson as he slept.

Waking, the man tried to escape but made it only as far as the foot of the bed, where Eakes said Baranyi's long-bladed knife found and cut his spinal cord. He lay unable to move as the teens killed him, she said -- Baranyi using a knife and Anderson wielding a baseball bat.

Rose Wilson never had the chance to move from her bed. Her skull was crushed.

Julia “undoubtedly felt the most terror,'' Eakes said.

She peered into the hallway and saw Baranyi coming at her, Eakes said. Beginning to cry, she grabbed a piece of a closet organizer and desperately tried to save herself.

Her arm was broken, her face was shattered, and she was stabbed three times in her left eye.

Eakes said Baranyi and Anderson had told friends they planned to kill an entire family, steal their belongings and sell them.  Who they killed was irrelevant, but Eakes said the Wilsons were targeted, in part, because Anderson hated Kim Wilson.

A CD player and other items were stolen from the home.

After the slayings, Eakes said the teens discarded their clothes, the socks they'd worn on their hands and the T-shirts they'd used to disguise their hair. They thought they'd committed the perfect crime, she said.

Baranyi's boots, however, had tracked blood all over the Wilson home, and shoelaces police later found at Baranyi's home had William Wilson's blood on them, Eakes said.

He also admitted the slayings to police. Eakes told jurors they would hear his tape-recorded statement, despite prosecutors' earlier decision not to present it.

Lynn, however, told jurors yesterday that parts of Baranyi's statement were fantasy, which demonstrated his impaired mental state -- or that he was covering for someone.

In the statement, Baranyi told police how he'd paged Kim Wilson to meet her the night of the slayings, yet she didn't own a pager, Lynn said. And investigators found the tip of a blade in one of the victims, yet Baranyi told police his knife didn't break.

At one point, Baranyi said he stole a bat from the Wilson garage. He later said he brought it, she said.

“The statement itself is suspect,'' she said.

Lynn pointed out Baranyi refused to identify his accomplice to police, contending he'd rather be sentenced to death than rat on his best friend.

Capital punishment was not an option for either Baranyi or Anderson because each was 17 at the time of the slayings.

“Alex is loyal to a fault, to his detriment,'' Lynn said. “Even today, he is not pointing a finger at David.''

Defense attorneys will call a psychologist to testify Baranyi suffers from bipolar disorder, characterized by drastic mood swings. His depression stems from childhood, when his parents divorced, Lynn said.

His mother simply left, and Baranyi was forced to stay with his critical and demeaning father, she said.

Lynn asked jurors to carefully consider Baranyi's actual role in the slayings, which she said were Anderson's idea. She also urged them to assess his mental state, which she said did not meet the legal requirements -- premeditation and intent -- to commit first-degree murder.

Also yesterday, friends of Kim Wilson testified about her last hours. Sky Stewart tearfully recalled driving her best friend home the night of the slayings.

Julia Mahoney of Bellevue, Rose Wilson's mother, told of trying to call the family that weekend. She only got the answering machine, then realized something was horribly wrong when she saw Sunday's evening news.

“I saw the house on television, and I just froze,'' she said.

Copyright 1998 Horvitz Newspapers
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