Swanson Sentenced For 1st Murder; Pleads Guilty To 2nd

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.


One Comment

  1. Former Stillwater Resident says:

    Throw him out of a plane at 15,000 feet and be done with it. Better yet, bury him at sea like bin Laden.

    1. Mike says:

      That would just about make you a mirror image of him…………..

      1. Billy says:

        No it wouldn’t at all. He murdered an innocent person, we would be disposing of a guilty piece of trash. Bullet in the head, call it a day.

        1. Luke says:

          sorry mike, have to go with billy here. Theres not enough room in our world for this kind of Evil. Its not punishment, its justice. theres a difference.

    2. Bubbagump says:

      Ignore these two p ussies, I’m sure his new boyfriends in prison will treat him just right, no lube needed..

  2. Del says:

    His punishment is dictated by state law: life in prison without parole. Soon to be x2.

    I like Former Stillwater Resident’s idea better though.

    1. K. says:

      Better yet, shoot him in the face like he did to one of the clerks he killed. An eye for an eye………

      1. just sayin says:

        No, slow and agonizing is more like it.
        Much better. If there were harsher punishments, people would think twice before committing a crime.

        1. Artfulskeptic says:

          No, they would not. Gruesome punishment does not deter crime.

      2. stated says:

        Eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind. Come out of the Old Testament.

        1. anon says:

          The world SHOULD be blind.

  3. blame-game says:

    Pathetic how the system (lawyer in this case) will actually blame “The system” for failing this poor lad.
    Nobodys accountable for their actions anymore, and the fail safe is to blame everything else.
    This waste of humanity was looking for negative attention from day one, and always got it. He’s been programmed to believe, it’s just not his fault and he can’t, nor should be expected to control his actions.
    Some fat-ass counselor will pin him with a psychosomatic disorder, thru some meds at him and he’ll be out in 10

    1. STIL-H2O says:

      Uhhh, a psychosomatic disorder? Are you aware of what a “psychosomatic” disorder actually is?

      You may have chosen a better disorder as your example…

      1. Bently says:

        Disorder smisorder his punishment is just another symptom of his disease.

      2. . says:

        •Of or relating to a disorder having physical symptoms but originating from mental or emotional causes.

        or maybe was it the voices in his head forced his hand?

        Close enough…

  4. What? says:

    blame-game, you live in a world where everyone is on prescribed medications for everything. so yes it is a blame game and people aren’t accountable for their actions, while this is a far fetched example, it starts with dr’s and handing out their “drugs” without seeing what they may do to a person. So if he could have been mentally deranged and something could have helped, it might have been worth it. Systems fail miserably. This truly is sad for everyone.

    1. ... says:

      Not everyone in on medication for everything. Maybe in your world, not mine.
      That’s how this behavior perpetuates itself – Pawn it off on something, anything.
      Honest Doc! I just need another valium or xanax!

      Guess he’s got to be accountable now though, doesn’t he.

      1. What? says:

        Yes he does, and I dont’ take any medications for anything. So not in my world. But the world of the prescription pads. It is very sad.

        1. What? says:

          I mean how insane does one have to be, to point blank shoot. cant even fathom it. And sincerely glad I can’t

  5. just sayin says:

    I REALLY WISH we could just throw him into a pool of sharks… and watch him laugh as he jumped in… or do you think he’d be laughing then?

    I don’t think he has a history of mental illness – I think he just plain doesn’t care.

  6. more facts says:

    This guy doesn’t even realize – he’ll be killed in prison in a matter of time anyway. We’ll all be able to rest easy then.

  7. red says:

    let him flip everyone off jjust as he jumps into the pool of sharks

  8. Ms. B. says:

    What a bunch of vengeful people on this site. Wishing pain upon another brings it upon you. And to the author: woud’ve/could’ve? We are in the age of illiteracy. It’s pathetic.

    1. STIL-H2O says:

      An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, blood for blood. He needs to forfeit his life. It isn’t vengeful. It’s justice.

    2. ? says:

      Don’t believe it’s vengeful.
      I do believe people are plain fed up, and sick of society kow-towing and shedding tears for the past mis-fortunes of murderers like him.
      They’ll use your sympathy every dam chance they get.

      Open your doors and bring him in honey.
      But then you’re responsible for him

      1. red says:

        Exactly! This is not being vengeful. The punk took 2 lives and anytime he has been on tv he has been seen smiling and flipping people off. he loves the the attention so he did not care that he took 2 lives and caused physical/emotional pain for other people. So THE HECK WITH HIM!

    3. Jake says:

      He didn’t take just ONE innocent life, he took TWO. Even if you executed him for just the one, it wouldn’t be enough. So he thinks it’s ok to laugh at a judge? Fine.
      I’m quite sure that he won’t be laughing very long once he gets introduced into the general prison population somewhere in Iowa. He will be fresh meat for all of the other sadistic inmates there, and will probably either kill himself, or be killed. He’s as evil as Jeffrey Dahmer, as far as I’m concerned. I’m pretty sure that when another inmate brings down the hammer on this guy, the guards will turn a blind eye to it. It’s all up to God now.

    4. stated says:

      I agree with you.

  9. Death Sentence says:

    Without a doubt he deserves to die. One way or another. Hopefully soon. It will be interesting to see how long he lasts when the first day he flashes his grin…….

  10. iowa says:

    how harsh could an iowa prison be?

    1. Back up Bessie says:


    2. Keeping it real in Minnesota says:

      A nightmare compared to Minnesota prisons

  11. Bubba says:

    Ohh a New Boyfriend and he is cute. I promise I will take good care of smiley.

    1. red says:

      good one Bubba!

  12. jan says:

    As long as he murdered people, it’s good the trial was in Iowa, if it were Minnesota, he’d probably be out on a street near you in five to ten years.

  13. Jackie Du Charme says:

    Good place for him. Altho, maybe St peter would of been better. The boys in prison are waiting for him.
    It is sad that he is an antisocial person. No drugs can fix empathy.

  14. Casey OJ says:

    Read his history this guy is truly clinically mentally sick. I say put him to sleep humanely. Save the tax prison dollars. He’s defective. Just like that psycho in Woodbury that targeted a guy after watching Dexter. Put these sickies down like puppies immediately.

    1. Sunny in Miami says:


  15. A Concerned American says:

    I am schocked at these comments. This person is mentally ill. It is too bad that we do not offer the plea of guilty due to insanity. He belongs in being locked up for the rest of his life but not in a prison but in a high security mental facility. His life is going to be very hard and he will probably do worse things in prison. Those with no empathy is what is wrong with this country today. We have complex issues yet everyone wants simple solutions

    1. MIke says:

      I couldn’t agree more! Their are many sick people in this world and the writers above advocating for his death are on the same par as this kid.

      1. stated says:

        I agree with both of you. By the way “get off your…” many of us “bleeding hearts”, as so many of you folks who advocate more and more violence like to call us, are involved in work that tries to help make the world better. Many of us try to intervene before a person ends up like this 18 year old boy—having shattered these poor peoples’ lives. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand mental illness, it really doesn’t. Many of us do and it is devastating and if a child has a history of trauma and a chaotic, violent, neglectful homelife sometimes the outcome is a person who has not developed empathy. (I don’t know if he has this history or not.) They are anti-social and they act on it violently. Not all anti-social people do. So you can have your viewpoint of killing them slowly or other fantasies of torture—have your daydreams, but you might want to educate yourself on the whole picture before you spout off in person to anyone who knows better.

    2. get off yer high horse says:

      I am so sick to death of you bleeding hearts with your higher sense of compassion and morality- looking down the end of your nose at people who are fed up with monsters like him.
      Put your money where your mouth is. Tommorow go down to the court house and take in the bigeest hard luck case you can find.
      1 week and you’ll know what some of these people are venting about.
      People like this kid are purely sociopathic.
      I only feel empathy for the victims, the families and his parents.
      Not him

      1. Mike says:

        You have more in common with a sociopath than you realize. Defining this case without contributing mental illness in the equation is ignorant and a sign of your inability to see clearly, but that also is a part of your delusional sense of moral superiority or sociopath tendencies.

        1. .. says:

          Many people have mental illness but don’t execute others mainly for attention.
          The length he went to to get recognition doesn’t exactly scream mental ilness to me, at least not to the point where it should be taken into consideration pertaining to innocence.
          Courts and the victims family’s saw it the same way.
          Or are they being ignorant too?

        2. fess-up says:

          Hey Mike,
          Come on man- come clean. Your a defense attorney right?
          You get paid to get guys like this off, no matter what twisted method you use?

          1. quityourlyin' says:

            God forbid you ever need a defense attorney, no I am not one. Our constitution guarantees all accused people of the right to counsel. Why then, do people get so wound up about it when a lawyer does his/her job? If you were charged with a crime—-DUI, Domestic Violence, murder, you would want a defense attorney who knew his/her way around a courtroom. Wow, it is really amazing to me that people get so ticked off when defendents are actually allowed to defend themselves and actually have competent lawyers. Would you like a dummy representing you?

            If the lawyer is derelect in their duty and the defendent is found guilty—there is a perfect argument for appeal. Cripes people you can’t have everything. Due process—hopefully, it is here to stay. Or is that another right the “right” wants to do away with?

    3. STIL-H2O says:

      “This person is mentally ill. It is too bad that we do not offer the plea of guilty due to insanity. He belongs in being locked up for the rest of his life but not in a prison but in a high security mental facility. His life is going to be very hard…”

      TOUGH HOP.
      There is no point in his life continuing, as he has no purpose and cannot be freed no matter what. He is a rabid dog, and rabid dogs make poor pets no matter how sad you feel for his lot in life.

    4. Frikken Frak says:

      Why are you shocked that people are outraged, not just at the murder, but his appalling actions in court?

      The article says he had mental illness. “Mental illnesses” is pretty broad, don’t you think? His mental illness could have been depression. It could have been any number of things. Mental illness DOES NOT equal “insane”.

      He said, in his OWN WORDS that he walked in there with premeditation and intent. He knew what he was doing.

    5. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

      Concerned American, there is a huge difference between mentally ill and clinically insane. Mentally ill people go to jail/prison all the time. That doesn’t mean they are clinically insane.

    6. Whoosh says:

      I agree these comments are so heartless; throwing the poor lad into a pool of sharks, so cruel, putting him to sleep, 2x life in a prison, how mean spirited. Let’s all just compromise here. I suggest we slow boil him until his skin come off of his bones, then hang the skeleton. That a do it!

  16. scott says:

    Death penalty should be legal with no appeals. Once convicted, ur guilty.

  17. Common sense says:

    Just so everyone realizes:

    You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. (NRSV, Matthew 5:38-42)

    I’m not a bible person or believe a blind-eye should be turned to this guy. Just taking a quote directly out of the new testament.

    1. STIL-H2O says:

      I’d go that second mile on my hands and knees through a Chicago sewer just to twist his head clean off his shoulders and toss it aside without care or prejudice. Just so you realize…

  18. Common sense says:

    Be careful not to judge your fellow posters too harshly!

    Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. (NRSV, Matthew 7:1-5)

  19. A Concerned American says:

    I never said that this person should be released. What I said was this person needs to be in a high security mental health facilty. This is not a bleeding heart speaking but someone who is aware of the correctional system. He will be a predator in prison, no meds and will be a danger to the guards as well as other inmates. As for the Bible quotes, it doesn’t work for me as I am Jeiwsh and even though the Torah allows the death penalty, the Sanhendrain basically abolsihed the death penalty. I am just trying to say that this is a complex issue and too many of you want simple solutions.

    1. Jake says:

      No, put him in a prison where the most violent, sadistic, beefed-up inmates reside.
      I’m tired ot seeing that pathetic smile on his face, he thinks he will be treated ‘with care’ because he is young. Nonsense. Mentally ill? Well, of course, if you shoot two, unarmed, compliant, elderly women in the FACE with a high powered rifle, I would probably conclude that this idiot is somehow mentally deranged, BUT, I still think that he knew right from wrong, otherwise he wouldn’t have told a friend that he would be in the news soon just before the killings. This guy is pure evil, and I sincerely hope that he doesn’t live another 50 years on the taxpayers dime. Zero remorse, mocking our judicial system at every opportunity, maybe trying to get an insanity defense, sorry, with guys like him, I am all out of sympathy. Let God figure it out LATER.

  20. Common sense says:

    No problem. I guess I’m just saying that I don’t think anyone in these posts have advocated this guy’s release.

  21. Jake says:

    Ever wonder why he didn’t commit these crimes in Texas or South Dakota?? DEATH PENALTY.

    1. Common sense says:

      If you’re referring that the death penalty prevents murders from happening go look at a state by state comparison, SD has 2.1 (per 100k), Min has 2.2, TX has 5.9. CA (Death penalty) has 6.2, and NY has 4.2.

      If one was to compare rates between population and whether a DP or non-DP is better, it looks like the DP states aren’t doing as well.

      1. STIL-H2O says:

        Or you could argue that those states are the ones with the highest need for putting down sadistic killers.

  22. Dave Seavy says:

    I understand much of the sentiment here; people are fed up with senseless and brutal crimes such as this. His attorney dealt a huge blow to people with mental illness when he blamed the system. There are literally millions of people in society with a mental illness, and they don’t go out and blow away two innocent women. If fact, they do all they can to live as normal a life as possible. For the attorney to blame the system rather than his client, in my opinion shows the mentality of many defense attorneys. I don’t get angry when I read about this kid smiling in court. I won’t give him that kind of power over me.

  23. 15 minutes up says:

    It appears that his 15 minutes is up. I think he is a deranged 18 year old, that was going to be destructive no matter what. I think in 20 years(if he makes it that long), prison is going to be very tiresome for him, and the fame long gone. Then he has the rest of his life behind bars to look forward to. I don’t think he’ll be smiling for to much longer.

  24. Donna Sayles-Corbin says:

    Just more of the same… Doesn’t surprise me at all.

  25. Sunny in Miami says:

    I say make an example of this guy…..shoot him in the head….it would certainly make others think before doing something like this to helpless folks!

    1. Whhoosh says:

      Bullets cost money. BOIL HIM!
      I’m gone people; back to work, airplanes keep calling me! Don’t want them to think I am sleeping…

      1. Alicia says:

        Whhoosh: You post, Bullets cost money . . . do you feel lethal injection costs less money???? Bullets are much less costly!!!!

  26. Al says:

    Live long, young murderer. Live a long, agonizing, life knowing why you’re there, in that little metal cage. Live a long time, and may you never know another good, happy day, because the people you killed never will, and you made it so. LIVE LONG, KILLER, AND REMEMBER!

  27. Frikken Frak says:

    I want to see if this horror of a human being is still laughing after he’s in general population for a while. I hope he sees jailhouse justice in the most vile, extended, painful and demoralizing form it can be delivered by his fellow inmates.

  28. bluefaery says:

    As the mother of a child in the mental health system here in Minnesota I can only shake my head in the disbelief that this is what we have let our society become. My son is mentally ill and yes I do give him his medication because I am trying the best I can to help him. But the system is flawed at best. I am not playing the blame-game but think that has someone helped this young man before now we wouldn’t be here. I agree that he does have a seat reserved for him in the smoking section but wishing that upon him will not bring these two wonder women back nor will it help his parents deal with the reality that he created for them.

  29. Keeping it real in Minnesota says:

    He has to pay restitution of $150,000.00 ???….hummm, so at the rate of .25 per hour considering he might work 40 hours a week, and considering that only 10% of the weekly pay goes toward restituion it should only take him 2,884 years to pay it back,,,,,LOL.

  30. Sue in Oregon says:

    What a waste of the taxpayers money…. for the rest of his life. Too bad Minnesota doesn’t impose the death penalty. This guy definitely can’t be rehabilitated… why waste the air he breathes? Let alone the food, bed, recreation and color TV he is going to enjoy for the next 60 years.

  31. TRSH says:

    Know why he was laughng? in a couple of years some one is going to come up with a reason to let him out of prison,Iwill tell you the one they are going to start with,insanity or they will research and find that his father shouted at him when he was nine years old, they not gonna kep a nice little white boy in prison for long,

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