Yesterday's sentence was mandatory for 20-year-old Michael John Anderson, who was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and other charges in the October 2007 shooting death of Katherine Ann Olson, 24.
"Mr Anderson is not just a murderer — he's a thief of the future of our family's joy," said the Rev. Rolf Olson, the victim's father. "He needs to be prevented from inflicting evil on anybody else's life ever again."
The Lutheran pastor said he believes God will help him to forgive Anderson, but "in this situation, I don't sense that there is any hurry."
Prosecutors said during the weeklong trial that Anderson, of Savage, ran a phony ad on the Craigslist classified-ad Web site in order to lure a woman to his home so he might experience what it felt like to kill.
The defence argued that the shooting was accidental. Anderson's lead attorney, Alan Margoles, said he plans an appeal because he wasn't allowed to present evidence that Anderson has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.
Anderson declined to comment during or after the sentencing. Margoles conveyed on Anderson's behalf his "deepest regrets for his actions."
"Why did you do this? You are the only one who knows and I won't pretend to understand it," Scott County District Judge Mary Theisen said from the bench. She added that Anderson was a "coward" when he shot Olson — who Theisen believed was "running for her life."
"You have shown no remorse and I have no empathy for you," Theisen said before handing down the life sentence. She also ordered Anderson to pay restitution of $6,500 from his prison wages to reimburse Olson's family for her funeral expenses.
Sarah Richter, Olson's older sister, said her sleep is interrupted nightly by horrible images from the murder.
"I'm haunted by Anderson's face, by Katherine's screams, the gun, her body in the trunk and now, the real bloody images of my sister," she said. "When will I sleep again?"
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