New trial sought in Erickson murder case

By Janice Gregorson

Efforts to set aside a jury verdict or get a new trial for convicted murderer Marilyn Erickson are meeting with strong opposition from prosecuting attorneys, who say the evidence presented at trial was more than sufficient for the guilty verdict.

Senior Assistant Olmsted County Attorney Scott Buhler is urging District Judge Lawrence Collins to deny the requests made by defense attorney Tina Liebling on behalf of Erickson.

Buhler's response to the defense motion was detailed in court documents. Collins has not made any decision relating to the motions. Sentencing for Erickson is set for April 19.


Erickson, 54, was convicted last month of second-degree unintentional murder for causing the death last June of Sabrina Elizabeth Lee, an 18-month-old she was caring for at a family day-care center. The toddler died at Saint Marys Hospital of head injuries. Doctors testified the injuries were consistent with the child having been shaken.

Liebling contends the evidence is insufficient to prove Erickson used unreasonable force or cruel discipline in caring for Sabrina.

Buhler said the jury believed the prosecution's experts and not the defense expert.

Buhler also said Liebling presented no evidence nor tried to elicit evidence from prosecution witnesses that Sabrina's injuries might have been caused by an attempt by Erickson to help Sabrina, "which the defense now apparently claims was her theory in the case."

Buhler said such an argument should be seen for what it is -- "a desperate attempt to rationalize the criminal act after a jury already has rejected her defense at trial."

Buhler told Collins there was more than sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude that an angry Erickson shook Sabrina for up to one minute and until Sabrina went limp and that Erickson's actions constituted unreasonable force or cruel discipline.

What To Read Next
Get Local