The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 9, 2013

Judge finds security hospital inmate guilty of attempted murder

Judge still deciding if Security Hospital inmate was sane when he attacked his mother


Nicollet County Attorney Michelle Zehnder Fischer asked Olson questions about the 1998 murder of her daughter and the attack in May 2012. Olson talked about how she had received a Mother's Day card from Burton Ewing shortly after her daughter's death. It contained disturbing pictures and the shape of a hammer, along with other cut-outs, had been cut from the card and put inside it. She said she believes the card was sent before the murder.

Olson received both a birthday card and a Mother's Day card from Ewing during their picnic. That Mother's Day card brought back memories of her daughter, even though there was nothing disturbing about it, she said. Everything about the day was pleasant until she caught a glimpse of the bike seat while she was driving in the county park and felt a blow to the head.

Olson compared her son's face to a “human werewolf” as she turned the car around and attempted to drive back to the highway. Ewing pulled the keys out of the ignition, bringing the car to a stop.

“I saw a horrible, horrible face, an awful grimace,” Olson said. “His eyes were just vacant. I said, 'No Burt. No Burt. Please Burt. Why Burt?'

“He told me, 'You're the antichrist and I have to kill you.”

“This was not the boy I gave birth to,” she said later during cross examination by Ewing's attorney, Tracy Bains. “This was not the child I remembered. This was not the young man I was so proud of.”

It was Rebecca Rasmussen and her husband, Darby, who decided to make a quick stop at the park to check for turkey hunters. Rasmussen was the first witness called during the second portion of the trial. While being questioned by Fischer, she described how Ewing's actions were "vicious" while his demeanor was "calm" as she and her husband watched the brutal attack.

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