Cherry Creek lawyer Michael Andre defended Denver's dark side, until he succumbed to his own.
What is known is that sometime after 8 p.m. Thursday, when he last spoke with Thomerson, Michael Andre took a turn. At around 4 a.m. Friday—a few hours after seeing Marie for the last time—Andre sent the eerily cryptic e-mail to the district attorney, announcing that he no longer wanted to live.
Suicide, according to the American Association of Suicidology, is rarely caused by one thing; rather, compounding factors may lead someone down that path. Talking about suicide is the clearest sign of trouble, but additional indicators include increased substance abuse, anxiety, feeling trapped, hopelessness, withdrawing from friends and family, anger, recklessness, and mood changes.
This was Michael Andre, one of the "mad ones" his friend invoked in his Kerouac eulogy—magnetic and mischievous, calculating and reckless, lighthearted and dark, everything that engendered loyalty among his clients and enmity among his courtroom foes. It was this potent cocktail of disparate traits that, on that fateful day in Boulder, led him to hit the throttle.
"Andre was very adept at riding the edge," Thomerson says. "He was right there always between tremendous success and oblivion. I think that he got a certain amount of energy from it. He would put himself in these situations where things looked very bleak and then he'd fight his way through it and triumph in the end. It was completely uncharacteristic of him to not claw his way out."
But on February 23, Michael Andre was too deep to claw his way out. With a SWAT team taking up positions outside his house, local and national TV cameras trained on his front door, cut off from friends and family, and exposed to the judgment of colleagues and clients, he found himself in a harsher spotlight than he'd ever craved. And so, when he saw no gap in the barricades, no way to fight his way through and triumph in the end, he stayed in his basement and cocked his guns.
Patrick Doyle is an associate editor at 5280. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.