Teen Accused In Iowa Shootings To Face 2 Trials

DES MOINES, Iowa (WCCO/AP) — A Minnesota teenager accused of killing two clerks at different convenience stores in northern Iowa will face two separate trials, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Michael Richard Swanson, 17, of St. Louis Park, Minn., is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in both Kossuth and Humboldt counties. He’s accused of walking into the Crossroads gas station in Algona just after 9 p.m. Monday and shooting Vicky Bowman-Hall, 47, who died at a local hospital. Prosecutors said he then drove to Humboldt, about 30 miles south of Algona, where he shot and killed 61-year-old Sheila Myers.

Swanson is being held in the Kossuth County jail on $1 million cash bond. A preliminary hearing in Kossuth County is scheduled for Nov. 29.

Kossuth County Attorney Todd Holmes said the cases will be tried separately because the shootings occurred in different jurisdictions.

“A lot of the preliminary work will be done in conjunction with one another but the trials will have to be separate,” Holmes said.

Charles Kenville, the state public defender appointed to represent Swanson, declined comment.

Swanson has had several scrapes with the law, according Minnesota court and police records.

He pleaded guilty in July to a felony count of stealing a car from his neighborhood and then crashing it into a parked Cadillac Escalade, records show.

He ran from the scene, and police found him hiding behind a parked vehicle, drunk. According to the criminal complaint, Swanson gave police a fake name and birthday, and later vomited in the back seat of the patrol car, telling the officers he had consumed “a lot of vodka.”

Swanson frequently disobeyed his household rules and acted out in the home, putting himself and those around him at risk of harm, the records state.

According to police logs, officers were called to Swanson’s home at least 10 times since 2006 on reports of assaults, threats, weapons violence and theft. The logs don’t say who the subject of the calls were and details weren’t available because the calls involved a juvenile.

Swanson was released from a juvenile rehabilitation center on Nov. 3. A warrant issued for his arrest shows his family told police he left the family home on Sunday night and took his mother’s debit car and her Jeep Grand Cherokee without her permission.

The family told police they believed he went to their cabin in the northern Minnesota community of Big Fork, where he broke in and took weapons, including a rifle, the warrant states. It says Swanson was in violation of his probation for the car theft and warned authorities he might be armed.

Taft Anderson and Samson Melkamu say they’ve gone to school with Swanson on and off since 7th grade.

They described Swanson as disruptive in class, troublesome and unpredictable.  They say he was one of the “bad kids” in school.

Neither one of them saw Swanson in school this year, but they remember seeing him last year from time to time.

Kossuth County Sheriff Steve Kollasch said Swanson, who was smiling as he was led into the courthouse Tuesday for his initial appearance, has been quiet since he was booked into jail.

“He has said very little,” Kollasch said. “I don’t know why he was smiling, or what he has to smile about. It’s disappointing to me. I see no signs of remorse and I don’t know why.”

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Jackie

    This story just confirms we have caught a true serial killer sociopath before he went on to kill more people.

    • mattey

      I just think some people are born with imbalances that excuse from the mind the severity or the reality of what a situation is. This punk just pulled the trigger, liked it, and pulled it again the 2nd time. Its like me and cupcakes. I eat one its delicious, and i like it; so i will eat another. The next thing ya know subsequently i am overweight and have diabetes… its just how my human brain works. Of course this is life in prison for this punk. My analogy is on a simplier level, but you get my drift.

      • Minnesota

        Have another cupcake Mattey your analogy is stupid!! I have to wonder how cupcakes have a thing to do with two innocent people losing their lives???

  • Dee Dee

    Miss Jackie, I agree. I grieve for the families left behind, including this young man’s mother who will always wonder what she did wrong., which was probably nothing. Some folks are just born bad.

  • Bert

    He was probably ‘bullied’.

    • duncan smith

      he wasnt bullied… at all

  • Mike

    What a piece of scum , and to put a picture of him with a smile on his face. This guy took 2 lives. Why waste taxpayers money in court. There must be alot that points to him so take his life and get it over with!!. Why let him have his 15 minutes of fame!!!

  • JR

    This kid’s smiling while in handcuffs on a double homicide. I hardly doubt he was bullied. Just really messed up. Not from parents or society but from birth. He’s about to get bullied.

  • Tom

    What planet are you people from, the kid’s parents should be charged right along with the kid. Kid’s don’t suddenly go bad at a certain age, it starts at a very early age (5?). Dirt balls tend to raise dirt ball kids, pure and simple. The issues on the north side of the city are pure and simple, 70% of the children are born out of wedlock to a single parent. If there is not sufficient parenting, the kids will get in trouble, and you can’t fix it as adolescent. This boy’s issues started at an early age. You need a license to drive a car, but you do not need a license or knowledge to do the most important thing in life, raise (key word) a child.

    • Judy

      Tom you are absolutely correct. Responsibility begins at birth. Many parents think a baby is just plain fun, and dont require any teaching of what is right and wrong, discipline is forgotten, manners are not heard of, respect for themselves and others is non-existent, same goes with others property. These children brought into this world are OUR responsibilty until they turn 18. If we as parents dont take the time to teach our kids, what kind of adults, parents do they expect their children to be??? I cant believe the big smile on this boys face, just like it was no big deal to take anothers life, and how proud he is of his crime. Just think of the respect Ill get at school !!!! Desserves the door slammed on him for many, many years. My heartfelt sympathy to the victims families.

      • Theresa

        Tom and Judy
        “What planet are you people from, the kid’s parents should be charged right along with the kid.”
        So you think the mother set out to raise a murdering psychopath? The kid is obviously sick in the head and deserves multiple life sentences, but I highly doubt the mom made him that way. Remember Ted Kaczynski -The Unabomber? His own brother, David ( who was raised by the same parents) turned Ted in to the authorities. If it were the Kaczynskis parenting style that sent Ted bombing, then why wasn’t David doing the same?

      • Minnesota

        Tom & Judy make me absolutely sick!! are they actually trying to say it’s the parents fault? this little F$%^%$#$&%$%cker has the mind of an animal? Jesus! Tom & Judy why don’t you let us know when you get down off your parenting high horse maybe you can let us all know how to raise a perfect society!! You blind morons!!!

    • duncan smith

      i was actually one of the kids bestfriends most of his life… his parents didnt have a choice in the matter. they raised him well and better than most parents should have. he was just a little crazy allways, its definately not the parents fault.. dont ever think that for even one second. it was mike, mikes just like that. you wouldve understood if you knew hm…

    • Suzie

      What planet are you from to assume that the parents did nothing to stop this. I have known this family for years and know first hand the agony that these parents have felt trying to find the right help for their son. You should know what you speak of before shooting off your mouth. These parents are good and decent people who went broke trying to help their son. You can not know the agony that these two people are feeling right know. They are devastated.

  • Jon

    I’d hate to see how many of my tax dollars went to enable this milestone around society’s neck.
    I see it time and again. Kids born to people who can’t wipe their own a**
    No-I do not blame the so called “Parents”. Too much blame game mutates fungus
    like him, until they belch up on the rest of us.

  • T. Peterson

    Look into the face of evil. It can be a kid as well.

  • Darcy

    Much sympathy to the two victim’s family and friends. My heart goes out to them all. What goes around comes around. This kid will not be smiling for long once he is sent away to one of our fine prison institutions. Hopefully for a very long time. Regardless of the kind of parenting he may have had, he is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong and make decisions based on that knowledge. He simply does not have a conscience. Pretty soon that smirk will disappear from his arrogant mug.

  • Disqusted

    This kid is nuts, end of story. There is nobody to blame but him for his actions. I hope they keep him locked up forever.

  • LT

    This kid is messed up do doupt. but i love how people are quick to blame the parents, witch just takes the blame away from him. he is 17 i agree with Darcy. he is old enought to know the diffrence between right and wrong. in my opinion form what has been reported so far the parents did the wright thing by notifying authorities he stole their car and where he might be going. This kid is messed up just like Timothy Mcvay(I know i spelt that wrong) but if this kid had been 10yrs older or even 5yrs older, the blame from society would be put on him not his parents so why just becasue he is 17 should the blame not be put on him and be put on his parents. My heart goes out to his paretns and the familys of the victims of the families, I was a Juvional Diliquent myself (now i am straight and raise my own family) even though i never did anything as remotly bad as this messed up kid. there was nothing my dad could have done diffrently that would have stoped me from doing what i did. This is the kids fault not anybody elses

  • Sue

    I am a neighbor of the boys family. They have two older sons who were very good kids, but Michael has been a handful since he was young. I seriously do not blame the parents as they tried very hard and were at their wits end. They were not enabling him, but worked with the police.

  • Tom T

    This is one of the times when I wish my state (Iowa) had capital punishment in place. This guy needs to be put down like the rabid dog he is.

    This should serve as a reminder to us all that not all vicious, predatory animals walk on four legs.

    My heart goes out to the families of the victims in this tragedy, especially the father who has to explain to his 4 year old why Mommy’s not coming home.

  • Mike

    This is prime example of how the juvenile court system and judges fail kids on a daily basis. This kid was just in residential treatement center..who athorized his release…The parents obviously were trying to get help..They call and reported him leaving….The judge and system who failed the kid should be held accountable..Many Judges in the Hennepin county juvenile system do nothing to prevent this type of thing for happening..they only react and wait to long.

  • Julie

    Nobody is “born bad” its all accumulated throughout your life, from family, friends, social life, people around you-What goes on around you, how you’re raised, what type of parents you have, what went on in school, ect. ect. ect affects a person in negative or positive ways. This kid seriously had something happen to him in the past, or had a bad home life, school life, didn’t make friends easily…ect. Something like this. no one is born bad.

  • Joy

    Before this news broke, I was just thinking about how much the world has changed in just the fifty years I’ve been in it. Things we wouldn’t have been exposed to 30 years ago are common on TV, video games and on the street. As a result there is definitely a difference – more violence, gangs and teen suicides. I watched interviews with schoolmates of teen suicide victims and noted that not one of them was crying. I don’t believe “all is lost” or “all is bad”, but we are becoming more hardened as a society and it scares me for my grandkids.

  • Maleesa Emily-Jane Moser

    How come they dont report that he was orginally born and raised in Algona, and later moved to Minnesota? Ive heard from teenagers my ages that are saying that he went to school with them in Algona. I believe this has something to do with why he targeted this Area.

  • HawkeyesRawesome

    We live in Kossuth County, where Algona is located. One of our daughters graduated with one of the Bowman daughters. This is the first time I’ve heard that he was born and raised in Algona, before moving to Minnesota. Am curious was he a student at the public or parochial school? And how many years did he go to school there? The whole thing is so tragic and we feel for the families of the victims and the accused. Parents are not always the fault for what their children do.

  • Chad H

    This comment is solely to the parent of Michael Richard Swanson, I know you tried to raise a good child and I sincerely believe you did your best to bring him up right.But the bad decisions made by Michael resulted in the deaths of two innocent people who did nothing wrong at all, they went to a job like most of us do everyday, with one thought in mind, going home after work to a family and sadly your son took that away from them without cause And for this he cannot be forgiven, He needs to answer for the unjustifiable crimes he has committed, May god have mercy on his soul.

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