Michael Swanson claims insanity in Iowa double homicide

Swanson claims he was insane.

Swanson claims he was insane.

Seventeen-year-old Michael Swanson, famous for smiling and laughing after being charged in November with murdering two Iowa gas station workers in two separate shootings, plans to claim insanity as a defense when his trials start this summer.


Police say the St. Louis Park boy stole his parents' car, drove to their cabin and stole a gun, then drove to Iowa. At the two gas stations he demanded money, and got it. Then he gunned down the women anyway. Vicky Bowman-Hall, 47, died in Algona, and 61-year-old Sheila Meyers died in Humbolt. Police arrested him at a McDonald's in Webster City, with the gun and some stolen cigarettes.

Earlier in January, his defense attorney requested that Swanson be tried in juvenile court. Yesterday, he withdrew one of those requests, and a judge denied the other. Now, he's asking that Swanson's trials be combined. Court documents filed in Kossuth County show he plans to employ an insanity defense.