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Published July 07, 2011, 12:34 PM

MN Teen Pleads Guilty to 2nd Iowa Clerk Killing; Gets Life in Prison

A Minnesota teenager was called "evil" by a judge as he smiled during his sentencing Thursday for the slaying of an Iowa convenience store clerk last fall.

By: Associated Press,

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota teenager was called "evil" by a judge as he smiled during his sentencing Thursday for the slaying of an Iowa convenience store clerk last fall.

It was the second of two life sentences Michael Swanson received in the shooting deaths of two clerks in northern Iowa last November.

Swanson, 18, of St. Louis Park, Minn., was first sentenced for the shooting death of Sheila Myers, 61, at the Kum & Go store in Humboldt where she worked. He later pleaded guity to first-degree murder and robbery in the shooting death of Vicky Bowman-Hall, 47, in Algona and was sentenced to a second life sentence to run concurrent with the sentence from Humboldt County.

"I feel it is necessary the defendant serve the sentence that was imposed in this case and the only way he was going to do that was if they run concurrently," Kossuth County Attorney Todd Holmes said after the hearing. "Otherwise the defendant would finish out his natural life serving the sentence in Humboldt County and never get the opportunity to serve the sentence for the murder of Vicky Bowman-Hall."

Holmes said Swanson read a statement telling the court how he walked into the Crossroads Gas Station in Algona and shot Bowman-Hall, who died at a local hospital.

Members of Bowman-Hall's family were present in the crowded courtroom for the hearing.

Holmes said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

"Anytime you have a defendant plead guilty to the charges against him there is that guaranteed result you don't have in other setting," Holmes said. "It was a very strong case but anytime you go into a trial it's a situation where you are unsure what the result will be."

He said the family was relieved that trial was avoided.

"The family doesn't have to go through the heartache and pain of a trial," Holmes said.

A life sentence in Iowa is mandatory and carries no chance for parole.

A telephone call placed to Swanson's attorney Thursday afternoon was answered by a voicemail that did not allow for a message to be left.

A Carroll County jury found Swanson guilty of first-degree murder and robbery last month for Myers' slaying. The trial in the Algona case was moved to Lyon County and was scheduled for July 27. Both trials were moved because of pre-trial publicity.

Prosecutors said he walked into the Algona gas station around 9 p.m. wearing a ski mask and demanded cash and cigarettes before shooting Bowman-Hall to keep her from calling police. He then drove about 30 miles south to Humboldt, where he shot and killed Myers.

Swanson was arrested driving his family's Jeep Grand Cherokee at a McDonald's restaurant in Webster City, about 60 miles from where the first shooting occurred.

Swanson smiled as he was led to his initial court appearance after his arrest last fall. He smiled again as the verdict was read finding him guilty of killing Myers. On Thursday, Judge David Lester told Swanson to stop smiling, the Des Moines Register reported.

"I wouldn't be smiling at me," Lester told Swanson.

"You're evil," Lester said. "You committed an evil act. You deserve to spend the rest of your life in prison. That's all I'm going to say."

A victim-witness coordinator read statements from Bowman-Hall's family expressing their grief at the loss of their mother and sister, the newspaper reported.

"The image of my mom surrounded with blood in the hospital will never go away," a statement from one daughter read.

Statements from other daughters expressed anger at Swanson's lack of remorse.

"God may forgive you, but I don't have to," another statement read.

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