Jury convicts on all counts in Craigslist killing
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SHAKOPEE, Minn. (AP) — A jury convicted a man from Savage on Tuesday night in the shooting death of a woman he lured to his home with a fake ad for a baby sitter that he posted on craigslist.org.
After about six hours of deliberation, the Scott County jury found 20-year-old Michael John Anderson guilty on all counts Tuesday night, including first-degree premeditated murder, for killing Katherine Ann Olson, 24. Anderson looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as the jury returned its verdict.
Jurors also found him guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
District Judge Mary Theisen scheduled sentencing for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Anderson could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Outside the courtroom, Olson’s family stood together in front of pictures of her and invoked their faith.
"The light of Christ has shown in the dark valley we have been walking through," said the victim’s father, Rolf Olson.
He said the New Testament teaches that forgiveness means to let go. He said his family will now let go of any influence Anderson has on them. "And cut it free because we have a lot of living to do and a lot of loving to do and we intend to do that," he added.
Anderson’s family declined to comment.
In closing arguments, prosecutors said Anderson’s acts were premeditated. Chief Deputy Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar told the jury Anderson simply wanted to kill someone on Oct. 25, 2007.
"He brought her over because he wanted to know what it felt like," Hocevar argued. "Well, he did."
Defense attorney Alan Margoles tried to show Olson’s death could have been accidental in hopes that jurors would convict Anderson on a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter.
Margoles argued that Anderson, who didn’t testify during the week-long trial, lured Olson over with no clear idea of why. He said that when she tried to leave, Anderson, who had no experience with women, fell back on his video game experience and pulled his father’s gun on her. He said Anderson then shot her accidentally when he tripped or flinched.
He also asked jurors to consider that Anderson lives in an "unreal world."
"He’s to tell a woman at gunpoint that he wants to be her boyfriend?" Margoles asked. "Demand sex? We don’t know. All we know is that this is a bizarre kid with no social skills."
After the verdict, Margoles said his case was hindered by the judge’s refusal to allow him to discuss Anderson’s Asperger’s syndrome in court. Asperger’s is an autistic disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction. The judge ruled before the trial there was insufficient evidence that the disorder had anything to do with Olson’s death.
"I think things would have been different if we were allowed to bring Asperger’s in, to explain why he became obsessed the last few days," Margoles said.
Scott County Chief Deputy Attorney Ron Hocevar disagreed.
"We don’t’ believe the defense of Asperger’s had a place in this trial," Hocevar said.