As I said in the post “So What Happened?”, there are a number of versions of what happened the morning Chad Swedberg was murdered. We will take a look at all of them and notice some glaring differences, mainly by those who were NOT there that morning, and even the ones who were. Let me introduce Mike Fritz, the County Attorney for Becker County. Mr. Fritz had the job of charging Ken Andersen with this murder and then prosecuting him. Mr. Fritz is a graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law, but decided to call in Al Zdrazil from the Attorney General’s Office to help him with this case. Below is a film clip of Mike being interviewed of the 300 child abuse cases he uncovered.
I will let you read the opening statement Fritz made at the trial as he explains to the jury as to what he THINKS happened the morning Chad died. Since he was not there that morning, he is telling them what he thinks happened. I wasn’t there either, but after reading the same things he did, I have my own opinion.
Fritz begins by saying what he says are the “facts” of the case. When a prosecutor stands up in a court room and tells jurors these are the “facts”, not this is what I “think” happened, he is entering almost biblical status to those whose job it is to simply believe what he says. Here is what he states are the “facts”:
Ken Andersen has shot and killed Chad Swedberg.
Chad was a happy-go-lucky person who was well liked by all.
On April 17, 2007, Chad got up at 6:30 am to make maple syrup so that the pancakes he made would have enough syrup on them since he worried they might run out.
Chad wanted to watch a TV program about wolves but had to leave and asked his loving wife to watch it for him. Chad left dressed in boots and jeans, putting on layers on clothing. He put on his Carhart jacket and his favorite baseball cap.
The weather great, with the sun shinning and a breeze in the air. He walked to his maple syrup stand because the ground was muddy and he didn’t want to get stuck.
Fritz walks the jury through the details of Chad’s syrup process like one who has spent a lifetime in the woods tapping the trees for its juice.
Fritz tells the jury that he knows that Chad arrived at the stand at 8:00 am. He then tells the jury that Chad was shot in the back a few minutes after 8 am. He says that he even knows how long it took for Chad to die
He knows that Leslie Fain is a worrier. He details how she worries about everything so much that she needs everyone to have cell phones on them all the time.
He knows that Leslie tries to call Chad at 8:14 am, 8:16 am, 8:46 am, 9:47 am, before worry gets the best of her and she decides to walk to the maple stand where Chad lays dead.
On page 863 Fritz becomes mystical and tells the jury that he even knows what Leslie Fain is thinking. He swears that she wanted to call 911, but in her hysteria she reasoned how difficult it would be for the EMT’s to get up in the woods. She puts off calling for help and calls Ken Swedberg. This is reasonable to the jury by now since she has been putting off checking on Chad for almost 2 hours. What is more time?
Immediately, Ken Swedberg arrives and determines his brother is dead and has her call 911.
On page 864, Fritz says “fucking” so as to shock the jury a little. You can be sure as they are getting a close up recount of what sounds like an eye witness to a murder they are already shocked.
Fritz goes into great detail as to what the investigators did for the next hour, in fact the details are far greater detail than the reports these people wrote themselves.
On pages 870-873, Fritz goes out of his way to provide, Morning Star Belcourt, Thomas Covington, and Al Baker with alibis and great details of their activities that morning so as to make them look as innocent as possible.
From pages 874-892, Fritz goes in vivid details of how they discovered the criminal known as “Ken Andersen” came to commit this horrific act. He details the multiple searches of his property until they found the rifle he is admitting into evidence as the murder weapon.
Mike Fritz closes his opening statements with the sentence “we are confident at the conclusion of this trial you will find the defendant guilty of premeditated murder of Chad Swedberg”.
This sounds powerful and a cake walk to a guilty verdict. The only problem is Mike Fritz was not there at all on April 13, 2007. He doesn’t know these people and is only doing his “job”, which means get a conviction. If he fails, he is not doing his job, by the standards of today. Fritz needs to win.
So what happened that morning? Keep reading!