MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities teenager who’s admitted to killing two women in Iowa has been sentenced to life in prison and pleaded guilty to a second murder.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Swanson was sentenced Thursday to the Nov. 15, 2010 shooting death of store clerk Sheila Myers. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery June 23 by a Carroll County jury.
Before the sentencing for Myers murder, her daughter, Rhonda, said her mother was her best friend.
“I miss her more every day and it will never be over for me,” she stated in the victim impact statements.
Swanson was sentenced to life in prison for killing Myers.
Hours later in a different county, Swanson was supposed to go on trial for a second store clerk murdered during the robbery spree, Vicky Bowman-Hall. Instead, there a hearing was held where Swanson pleaded guilty to walking into the Crossroads Convenience Store in Algona, Iowa on Nov. 15, 2010 and shooting Bowman-Hall.
As part of the guilty plea, Swanson had to admit to the court what he did — how he walked into the convenience store that night demanding cigarettes and the money.
“I then intentionally, deliberately and with pre-meditation shot the clerk causing her to die. I did this with specific intent to kill her,” Swanson told the court.
In addition to the plea change, Swanson also requested to be sentenced. During the sentencing, the family of Bowman-Hall had the chance to confront Swanson. Her daughter, Jillian Bowman, gave an emotional statement about the night her mother was murdered and calling Swanson a coward.
“You just walked in, scared her, robbed her, and then when you almost left, you took off your mask, grinned at her and shot her. You shot my mom in the face, how could you?” she said. “What you did was truly evil and I know that you were glad that you did them. You say that it makes you feel power but it doesn’t. I think you’re a weak person.”
“You said you did it for cigarettes and money and so no one can identify you but I think that’s a lie. You did it, as you later said on, that it was so you could feel powerful,” Bowman continued. “How could killing a defenseless woman in an outright execution be powerful or fair? My mom did nothing to you.”
During the sentencing, Swanson started to smile. The judge quickly told him if he wanted to keep smiling he could spend a little more time in the Kossuth County Jail. At that point Swanson stopped smiling.
The judge told Swanson he was evil and it would do no good to lecture him.
Swanson was sentenced to life in prison for killing Bowman-Hall. The two sentences will run consecutively, one following the other, instead of running at the same time. Swanson must also pay the sum of $150,000 in restitution to the Myers family.
Swanson’s attorney, Charles Kenville, said Swanson has a long list of mental health problems and if he would’ve received the proper treatment, this could’ve all been avoided.
“They let him out without any type of medication. That to me is a failure of the system,” he said.
Swanson flipped off TV cameras and smiled after a jury convicted him in the first murder last month.