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May 15, 2012 05:59 PM

Ericsson Talks In Court About Madison Killing

Madison, SD

A 74-year-old Watertown man has admitted to killing a retired Madison High School teacher and track coach over a 50-year-old grudge.

Carl Ericsson pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second degree murder Tuesday for the death of 72-year-old Norman Johnson.

Since his arrest on February 1, 2012, Ericsson hasn't said much in court about the death of Norman Johnson, but when he entered his plea Tuesday, he shed a little light on what happened the night he drove from Watertown to Madison to settle an old grudge.

“What did you do to him?” Third Circuit Judge Vince Foley asked Ericsson in court.

"I shot him," Ericsson responded.

Ericsson shot Johnson twice in the face at Johnson's home on January 31. In court, it was revealed that Ericsson was suffering from chronic depression at the time of the crime.

Foley: You went to his house on purpose?
Ericsson: Yes, your honor.
Foley: You knocked or rang the doorbell on purpose?
Ericsson: Yes, your honor.
Foley: He came to the door?
Ericsson: Yes, your honor.
Foley: And is that when you shot him?
Ericsson: After I verified his name, your honor.

But Ericsson did not go into too many details as to why.

Foley: Why did you do that?
Ericsson: I guess from something that happened over 50 years ago that was apparently in my subconscious.

Ericsson is now taking anxiety, depression and sleeping pills and admitted in court that even though he is suffering from chronic depression, he knew that shooting Johnson was against the law.

Lake County State's Attorney Ken Meyer said after court that we may never know exactly what drove Ericsson to carry out this crime.

Ben Dunsmoor: Any other details about what exactly happened or what the 50-year-old feud was?
Meyer: No, I don't think anybody understands that.

Even though Ericsson faces a mandatory life in prison sentence with Tuesday’s plea, a pre-sentence investigation was still ordered, which means Ericsson will be back in court on June 15 to face his final sentence.

Ericsson also said in court that he pleaded guilty to second degree murder so he could avoid the death penalty.
 

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