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February 02, 2012 05:55 PM

Grudge May Have Been Behind Madison Murder

Madison, SD


Decades-old bad blood may be to blame for a murder in Madison.


According to court paperwork, 73-year-old Carl Ericsson of Watertown has known his victim, 72-year-old Norm Johnson, since high school.

The judge Thursday refused to set a bond for Ericsson, saying the Watertown man may be a flight risk. According to court papers, Tuesday's shooting of Johnson may have stemmed from a grudge Ericsson had been nursing for more than a half-century. 

Ericsson entered court charged with shooting Johnson twice in the face at Johnson's front door.

Perry Groten: Mr. Ericsson, did you kill Mr. Johnson?

Ericsson was silent in court, but court papers say a lot about what happened Tuesday night in Madison.

After the shooting, Johnson's wife was able to give police a description of the gunman and his car parked out front. Ericsson was then seen walking around his brother's house, but left after deciding his brother wasn't home.

Dick Ericsson told investigators that his brother is an alcoholic and suffers from depression and two years ago, had even threatened to kill him. Dick Ericsson says his brother held a grudge against Johnson over something Johnson did to Ericsson when the two were high school classmates more than 50 years ago.

Carl Ericsson told investigators he doesn't remember Johnson and denies going to Johnson's house. But Ericsson admitted having a Glock handgun with him while he was in Madison.

Ericsson said he thought about firing that Glock into his brother's backyard shed where a sports car was parked just to leave his brother a little something to let him know he was there.

The state's attorney says he's consulting with Johnson's wife about whether to pursue the death penalty in this case. Ericsson is scheduled to be back in court on February 16.
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