Inmate testifies to jail comments by accused Craigslist killer

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 30, 2009 - 9:38 PM

A fellow inmate said the defendant in the Craigslist trial showed no remorse. Closing arguments are today.

A former fellow inmate of Michael John Anderson testified Monday that the defendant in the Craigslist killing told him that he had no plans to plead insanity in his first-degree murder trial because then he'd have to pretend he was remorseful.

The inmate testified during the sixth and final day of testimony in the Scott County District Court trial of Anderson, accused of fatally shooting Katherine Ann Olson in the back after luring her to his parents' Savage home in October 2007.

Anderson, 20, is accused of killing Olson after she answered an ad for a baby sitter he had posted on Craigslist. His defense attorneys maintain he lured Olson, 24, of Minneapolis, to his parents' home for sex or romance, then accidentally shot her when the gun went off in his hands.

Both prosecution and defense will deliver closing arguments today.

Among those testifying Monday was Rory Pauly, 21, a convicted felon now in the Carver County jail. Pauly said he and Anderson became friends when they served six months together in the Scott County jail.

Pauly testified that he, Anderson and a third inmate, Joshua Young, were walking in the jail gym two days before Young's release. The three had never discussed the charges against Anderson before, but Young asked, "Did you do it?"

Pauly said that in response, Anderson just shrugged, but Young pressed him as to why he wouldn't plead insanity.

"He turned around and said, 'Because then I'd have to pretend that I'm sorry,'" Pauly testified.

Pauly said that Anderson smiled as he said it. "I was speechless; I had been sticking up for him,'' Pauly said.

Under cross-examination, Pauly, who faces felony drug charges in two pending cases, said he was not offered anything in exchange for his testimony.

Also Monday, Judge Mary Theisen denied defense attorneys' request to ask jurors to consider a lesser charge of third-degree murder unless Anderson takes the stand to explain what happened the day Olson was killed.

After deciding that his client would not take the stand, defense attorney Alan Margoles declined to call any witnesses for the defense.

But after the jury was dismissed, he asked that jurors' instructions be amended to include charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter-culpable negligence, in addition to the charges of first- and second-degree murder for which Anderson is standing trial.

Theisen agreed to allow the manslaughter charge, but said that because there is no evidence that Olson's death was accidental, she would not allow the third-degree murder instruction. Repeated assertions by the defense that Anderson tripped, causing the gun to go off, were not enough, she said.

After repeating his arguments, Margoles, appearing exasperated, said such evidence would be discussed in a portion of his closing argument that he had planned to not reveal until today. He'll focus on evidence that traces of DNA prove Olson had tied the twine found on her legs when her body was found in the trunk of her car.

"He ordered her at gunpoint to tie one of her ankles," Margoles said of Anderson. "... She knew she was not going to tie the other ankle because she would be helpless, so she ran. He shot her not because he wanted her dead. He shot her like a dog takes off after a car that goes past. Just to keep her there."

In other testimony, Savage police Sgt. Laura Kvasnicka, the lead detective in the case and the state's final witness, took the stand to detail activity in Anderson's AOL e-mail account in the days leading to Olson's death, including that he had sent messages to women looking for "no-strings-attached" relationships on Craigslist mere hours before he allegedly killed Olson.

"I am drama-free, disease-free, 22 and not pushy," Anderson wrote in one e-mail at 12:11 a.m. Oct. 25 in which he invited a woman to dinner before returning to his home "for light conversation."

"If I meet your standards, e-mail me back," Anderson wrote.

The Craigslist user never responded.

The next day, Olson was dead.

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

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