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May 01, 2012 05:49 PM

Ericsson May Plead Guilty, But Mentally Ill

Madison, SD

It appears the 73-year-old Watertown man accused of shooting a Madison man outside his home in January will likely admit to the crime this month.

Carl Ericsson was just as silent as he walked into the Lake County Courtroom as he was inside it.  Once in the room, his attorney and the prosecutor updated the judge on the next steps in the case.  They say there is a tentative plea agreement in which Ericsson will plead guilty but mentally ill to second degree murder.

The 73-year-old has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder in the shooting death of 72-year-old Norman Johnson.  Johnson was shot to death outside his Madison home on January 31.  Court papers say it may have stemmed from a grudge Ericsson held against Johnson dating back to their high school days more than fifty years ago.

The mentally ill plea requires a psychological evaluation to be performed.  The attorneys told the judge it has been done but the results won't be back until later this week. 

Ericsson will remain behind bars in Lake County until his next court appearance.  That's now scheduled for Tuesday May 15 at 2:00 p.m.

Johnson's family members were in court for the proceedings.  Immediately following the hearing, Ericsson was walked from the courtroom back to the jail cell he's been in since his arrest three months ago.

Second degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

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