ST PETER — Court documents filed with attempted murder charges suggest a search of Burton Ewing Jr.’s backpack might have provided a red flag that would have kept him at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center and stopped him from allegedly attempting to kill his mother.
Ewing, 48, made his first appearance in court Thursday. He was arrested at Seven Mile Creek County Park Tuesday while he was stabbing his mother, 69-year-old Marlys Helen Olson of Coon Rapids. He is facing five felony charges, including first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault. His bail was set at $1 million.
The criminal complaint describes a brutal attack that was first witnessed by people at the park and was still taking place when Nicollet County Sheriff’s deputy Jared Thelemann arrived at about 6:15 p.m. Thelemann said Olson’s car, a PT Cruiser, was rocking back and forth when witnesses in the park’s parking lot pointed him toward it.
Ewing appeared to be stabbing someone when Thelemann got out of his squad car, pulled his gun and confronted him, the deputy reported. As Ewing stepped away from the car, he dropped a knife on the ground.
After backup officers arrived, Thelemann and state trooper Dan Anderson attempted to help Olson. She was bleeding profusely from 22 stab wounds to her hands, head, throat and chest. She was eventually airlifted from the park to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where she was in critical condition Thursday.
Thelemann arrived quickly because he and other law enforcement officers were already in the area searching for 25-year-old William Daniel Pfeffer Jr., another treatment center patient who had left the facility without permission about two hours before Ewing was allowed to leave. Pfeffer was arrested at the same park Wednesday. Investigators do not suspect the incidents are connected.