Murderer Michael Swanson smiles his way to two life sentences

Swanson took two lives, and got two life sentences.

Swanson took two lives, and got two life sentences.

Michael Swanson took the lives of two Iowa store clerks for cigarettes and $31 in cash, and now he's losing the rest of his own life to prison.

Swanson, 18, got a life sentence for the murder of Sheila Myers, and another for killing Vicky Bowman-Hill. The St. Louis Park teenager creeped-out nearly everyone by smiling and laughing during his arraignment, and as the jury read out a guilty verdict, was still smiling yesterday.

"I wouldn't smile at me," Kossuth County Judge David Lester said. "I still have jurisdiction over you, young man."

Lester used that jurisdiction to give Swanson his second life sentence in a matter of hours.

Like his murders, justice for Swanson came one by one, but swiftly. On June 23, it took a jury less than an hour to convict him of killing Myers. District Judge Thomas Bice sentenced Swanson for that crime yesterday, referring to Swanson as a "cold-blooded killer" four times during the hearing.

Then, just hours later, Swanson pleaded guilty to killing Bowman-Hill, and got another life sentence.
By the time cameras recorded him pleading guilty to murdering Bowman-Hall, Swanson wasn't smiling anymore.

Before he's given a new permanent residence, Swanson will spend a month in an Iowa prison, where he'll be evaluated for substance abuse, security risk and mental health.