The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 23, 2013

Decision expected soon on whether Ewing insane

Judge should decide this week whether Ewing was insane


Krehbiel found Ewing, 49, guilty of attempted murder during a short first phase of his trial. She will now decide if he was again innocent by reason of insanity or should face a prison sentence for the brutal beating of his mother. One of Ewing's attorneys, Stephen Ferrazzano, provided oral arguments at the conclusion of the trial. Fischer issued written arguments, and Ferrazzano provided a short written rebuttal, to Krehbiel last week.

Ferrazzano repeated Fischer's sun and stars comparison to make his argument: Ewing was suffering from delusions even though staff at the hospital, who allowed him to leave the treatment center campus with a large duffel bag full of clothing and food and cash, couldn't see it.

“The stars are always present even though you can't see them during the day or on a cloudy evening,” Ferrazzano said in his rebuttal. “That is much like (Ewing's) mental illness, delusions and symptoms of relapse. You don't question their existence simply because you can't 'see' them.”

Fischer said Ewing knew attempting to kill his mother was wrong, pointing out that he admitted that to the expert examiners and an investigator who interviewed him a few hours after his arrest. He also told a witness, who happened upon the incident and likely saved Olson's life with a call to police, “this is my mother and I am going to kill her.” Also, if he really believed he was killing his mother to make the world a better place, as his attorneys argued, he wouldn't have bothered to make plans to escape, Fischer said.

Ewing's attorneys also failed to show that Ewing's mental illness prevented him from knowing what he did was wrong, Fischer said. There was no evidence, even though Ewing was watched 24 hours a day by hospital staff, that Ewing was having delusions during the time leading up to him leaving the hospital with Olson. She attended a quarterly progress meeting with Ewing before they left.

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