Eighteen-year-old Michael Swanson of St. Louis Park, Minnesota changed his plea to guilty Thursday in the November 15th shooting of Algona convenience store clerk Vicky Bowman-Hall. The plea came hours after Swanson was sentenced to life for the shooting of store clerk Sheila Myers in Humboldt on the same day. (Myers sentencing story)
Swanson showed no emotion while reading a statement in changing his plea from not guilty to guilty Bowman-Hall’s murder. Swanson started to smile as Judge David Lester began reading his sentence for the crime, but the judge told him if he wished to keep smiling he could spend a little more time in the Kossuth County Jail. Swanson then stopped smiling.
Bowman-Hall family pastor, Reverend Jason Peterson of Burt, talked about the family’s reaction. Peterson says even though nothing is adequate to pay for the crime or pay for what they have lost, they are satisfied that system and the officials from the county and state have done they best they can under state laws.
“They’re relieved that this stage of these proceedings is over, that they can go about finding their way in their new situation in life,” Peterson said. The pastor said the community has helped the family. He says they family really appreciates the support they received from the community, and “they’re really thankful for all the help they’ve been given.”
Bowman-Hall’s daughter Jilian talked about what happens next for them. “Try to heal, I know that ain’t possible, but we’re just gonna have to try to stay together, get along, try to pull the pieces back together and be okay,” She said. Mike Hall, Vicky’s husband says seeing the sentencing was welcome.
“It’s been a long road, I think this will give us a little more closure to move on,” Hall said. He says they will not have to go through a trial now and maybe can move on.
At the conclusion Swanson was quickly escorted out of the courtroom and into a vehicle for the one block trip back to the Kossuth County Jail. He will stay at the jail before being sent to the State Correctional Facility at Oakdale, where he will be processed and sent to prison to begin serving his mandatory life sentence.
By Chuck Shockley, KLGA, Algona