Kari Swenson’s abductor, “Mountain Man” Don Nichols is up for parole. Don, along with his son Dan, were responsible for kidnapping athlete Kari Swenson, and murdering Alan Goldstein, a friend of Kari’s.
Nichols, who has been in prison since his conviction in 1984, is now 81 and appears frail, weighing 150 pounds and standing 6 feet tall. While it is unlikely that Nichols would be able to cause any more problems to society, he seems largely apathetic about the crimes he committed.
Nichols and his son gained notoriety for the 5 month long manhunt to find them following Swenson’s kidnapping.
Kari Swenson, who was a world-class runner, was out for a cross country run near Big Skky, Montana when the father and son duo kidnapped her. The elder Nichols has turned over his journal entries and other memorabilia surrounding the crime. In his letters he writes:
“We more or less only intimidated Kari into coming with us. We were only going to keep her with us for a few days if it didn’t work out,” Nichols wrote in a collection of letters, journals and lengthy manuscript dating from the late 1980s and early 1990s now housed at the University of Montana library. “Also, we treated her very humanely all the time, in fact cordially, except for the unusual circumstances. I did not hit Kari. The chain involved was a real lightweight chain. One end was fastened comfortably around her waist and other end around a tree.”
In his letters, Nichols does not seem to regret the crime, and also shows little care for adhering to laws. This may be a setback when he goes in front of the notoriously tough Montana Parole Board on April 27th. Residents of the Bozeman, Montana area, where the kidnapping took place, hope the parole board denies Nichols the right to go free.
Residents sent almost 200 letters to the parole board five years ago, when Nichols first came up for parole. The letters were all from people who still remembered the five-month long manhunt for Don Nichols following his kidnapping of Kari Swenson, in what is still to this day one of Montana’s most notorious crimes.
Check out the video below to see a depiction of Kari Swenson’s kidnapping: