The Illicit List: Crime and Craigslist
The Trial Of Michael Anderson
3,000 people attended Katherine Olson's funeral at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina.
Michael Anderson was tried in Scott County District Court in Shakopee, with District Judge Mary Theisen presiding.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Ron Hocevar maintained Anderson shot Olson in the back because he was curious about death. Defense Attorney Alan Margoles argued to jurors that the gun went off accidentally. Or that, as "a bizarre kid with no social skills," when he found out that Olson wasn't interested, Anderson somehow thought pointing a gun at her would win her over. Or he tripped. Or he got confused when he tried to grab the dog and squeezed the trigger instead.
Hocevar, however, noted that Anderson never tried to tell police that he accidentally shot Olson.
When another inmate asked why Anderson didn't want to plead insanity, inmates testified that he responded that he didn't want to have to pretend he was sorry. Anderson also told fellow inmates that he wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. Defense attorneys claimed lonely Anderson just wanted to know what it felt like to have sex.
Anderson didn't testify in his defense. Theisen told Anderson's attorneys that without his testimony she wouldn't consider a lesser charge of third-degree murder, as there was nothing else to indicate that the slaying was accidental.
On Tuesday, March 31, 2009, a jury convicted Anderson of first degree premeditated murder, second degree murder and manslaughter. The jury had deliberated only five hours. Anderson didn't speak at the sentencing. His attorney, Margoles, conveyed the young man's sorrow. But Judge Theisen believed Anderson shot Olson as she was running for her life and that he left her in her car to die, and she accused him at the sentencing of showing no remorse.
Margoles says Anderson has Asperger syndrome, a mild relative of autism; prosecutors say that's never been shown, and the judge did not permit Anderson's attorneys to bring this up at the trial. Margoles said he would use the judge's decision not to admit the young man's Asperger syndrome as evidence in the appeal. First-degree murder convictions are automatically appealed.