DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota man convicted of killing a convenience store clerk in Humboldt is expected to plead guilty to killing another clerk in Algona, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Kossuth County Attorney Todd Holmes said Michael Swanson, 18, of St. Louis Park, Minn., will plead guilty to first-degree murder and robbery in the Nov. 15. shooting death of Vicky Bowman-Hall at an Algona gas station.
Swanson requested a hearing to change his plea and that hearing will be held Thursday in Kossuth County, Holmes said. It will follow his sentencing Thursday morning to life in prison for the slaying of Sheila Myers at a store in Humboldt.
A jury in Carroll County found Swanson guilty last month of first-degree murder and robbery in Myers’ death.
A telephone message left Tuesday for Swanson’s attorney was not immediately returned.
Swanson was 17 when he was charged with the slayings. His attorney has maintained that he was legally insane at the time.
Prosecutors claim he shot Bowman-Hall just after 9 p.m. at the Crossroads gas station after demanding cash and cigarettes and then drove to Humboldt, where he shot and killed Myers at the Kum & Go store where she worked.
He was arrested later driving his family’s Jeep Grand Cherokee at a McDonald’s in Webster City.
Holmes said having Swanson plead guilty to the charges that are filed against him will keep the family from having to go through the stress of a trial.
“Trials are very difficult for family members, especially in situations where a loved one has died in a manner that is horrific,” Holmes said. “Families can be affected a great deal.”
He said having a defendant plead guilty to charges that are filed against him also helps provide some “finality” for family members.
“They will get to hear the defendant admit to the crime and that is always, in my mind, beneficial for victims’ families to hear,” Holmes said.
Holmes speculated that being found guilty in the Humboldt case prompted Swanson’s decision to change his plea in Kossuth County.
Trials in both cases were moved because of pre-trial publicity. The trial for the Algona slaying had been moved to Lyon County and was scheduled for July 27.
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