The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 12, 2013

Expert: Ewing sane during attack

ST. PETER — Burton Ewing Jr. did not meet Minnesota's definition of insanity when he attempted to beat and stab his mother to death, but a judge also should consider the fact Ewing has a serious mental illness if he is facing a prison sentence, said an expert testifying for prosecutors at his trial Thursday.

Two experts previously called by Ewing's defense attorney, Stephen Ferrazzano, had said that they concluded Ewing, 49, was delusional and didn't realize what he was doing on May 8, 2012, when he attacked his mother, Marlys Olson, at Seven Mile Creek County Park. Ewing and his mother had left the security hospital on a day pass that day, which also happened to be one day after the 14-year anniversary of the incident that resulted in Ewing being found mentally ill and dangerous. He beat his sister to death May 7, 1998, and, if he hadn't been arrested, also planned to kill Olson.

One of those experts called by the defense, Dr. George Komaridis, said the delusions Ewing was experiencing while he was stabbing his mother were the same he was experiencing in 1998. He believed his mother was the antichrist and, if he killed her, the world would become a better place and he would feel better about himself. That met Minnesota's definition of innocent by reason of mental deficiency, which is known as the McNaughton defense.

Dr. James Gilbertson, the expert called by Assistant County Attorney James Dunn on Thursday, said he could understand why other experts would reach that conclusion. Experts who evaluated Ewing's mental health after his sister's murder found his psychotic delusions at the time were so strong that he didn't realize what he was doing was wrong. It would be easy to compare the 1998 and 2012 incidents and find the incidents are so similar that Ewing had to have been in the same mental state, Gilbertson said.

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