Carl Ericsson was sentenced to life in prison under the “guilty but sane” conviction he received for the murder of his high school classmate Norman Johnson.
Ericsson only stated that a 1950s locker room incident featuring a jockstrap being pulled over his head has festered for more than 50 years, leading to the murder of Johnson in Madison, South Dakota, according to The Huffington Post. Ericsson’s lawyer, Kenneth Mayer, stated:
“He said that a jockstrap was put on his head. It’s the only thing he’s ever mentioned in talking to law enforcement.”
The 73-year-old man pleaded not guilty in the shooting of his former classmate, but a deal was reached before the case went to trial. A first degree murder charge in South Dakota can carry a death penalty sentence, according to AJC. Ericsson only stated that:
“I guess it was from something that happened over 50 years ago. It was apparently in my subconscious.”
Norman Johnson’s daughter, Terri Wiblemo, 50, addressed her fathers murderer in the courtroom, according to Keloland, saying, “We miss my dad very much, my whole family misses my father very much.” A second daughter, Beth Ribstein, stated:
“I can’t blame you for being jealous of dad. In high school he was popular. He was athletic. He dated mom. They had 52 wonderful years together and had two daughters that adored him, four grandchildren that worshipped their grandpa.”
The Huffington Post notes, however, that Ericsson was also successful, earning a degree from North Dakota State University and having recently retired from a 25-year insurance career. He has been married to wife, Deanna, for more than 44 years.
Ericsson has stated that he feels bad for what he has done, and addressed Johnson’s widow by saying, according to Keloland, that:
“I’d just like to tell Mrs. Johnson how very sorry I am for what I did. Her daughters put it very plainly and I guess I feel the same way when I’m laying in my bunk.”