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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Littlewolf convicted in stabbing death, jurors waste little time

  • After listening to 11 days of testimony, jurors took approximately two hours to find Joshua Lee Littlewolf guilty Wednesday of killing Joshua Olson in 2012.
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  • After listening to 11 days of testimony, jurors took approximately two hours to find Joshua Lee Littlewolf guilty Wednesday of killing Joshua Olson in 2012.
    “Nothing is going to bring Josh back, but we’re happy we got justice,” Abrum Olson, Joshua Olson’s younger brother, said after the verdict was announced in a packed courtroom. “We can move on with our lives.”
    Olson, 28, was stabbed to death in the Frances Skinner Apartments in downtown Duluth on April 27, 2012. The four-man, eight-woman jury found Littlewolf, 42, guilty of second degree murder for his death.
    When the guilty plea was read, several members of Olson’s family began softly crying in the rear of the courtroom. Littlewolf sat silent. Judge Shaun Floerke ordered Littlewolf’s sentencing scheduled for Nov. 1.
    Outside the courtroom the victim’s father, Darrell Olson, and prosecutor Nate Stumme hugged. Later Olson’s family thanked Stumme, Duluth police, St. Louis County Director of Victim Services Patty Wheeler and others for their work.
    “Justice is served,” Anna DeFoe, Olson’s older sister, said. “The jury saw through all of Mr. Littlewolf’s lies.”
    Stumme in turn thanked the Olson family “for their support and confidence in the system.”
    He also praised police investigators and the jurors.
    “Our community should be very proud of the quality of our legal system and local jury pool,” Stumme said. “The devoted service of this particular jury was extraordinary.”
    The jury began its deliberations around 12:15 p.m. after the defense rested and Littlewolf, who represented himself, and Stumme made their closing arguments.
    In his closing argument Stumme said Littlewolf decided to “condemn and butcher” Olson for comments he made that angered Littlewolf.
    “The killing was wholly unjustified and he (Littlewolf) knew it,” Stumme said.
    In his closing argument, Littlewolf said that no witness corroborated Stumme’s theories about what happened in the apartment where Olson died. Littlewolf also talked about the lack of physical evidence that would prove his guilt, citing inclusive tests of DNA and hair found at the scene.
    Police investigators pointed to Littlewolf’s own admission that he cut Olson with a knife that night, and that blood splatters found on the wall matched those found on a pair of shorts Littlewolf was believed to have worn.
    Speaking in a calm, level voice, Littlewolf talked about some of his frustrations with the legal system, of how he couldn’t bring in information that would have harmed the state’s case against him.
    “He who defines the terms wins the argument,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I do not recommend anyone to represent themselves,” he said later. “This was very stressful on me. … It’s very stressful for anyone to learn law.”
    As he has on several other days, Littlewolf chose to appear in court Wednesday dressed in orange jail clothing.
    Testifying on his own behalf Tuesday, Littlewolf said Olson was disrespectful of American Indians and women during an evening of drinking. Littlewolf said Olson later attacked him with a knife. Littlewolf testified that he took the knife away from Olson and accidently gave him a small cut on the neck before knocking Olson out and leaving the apartment. He said someone else killed Olson, who suffered a massive neck wound caused by several cuts.
    Members of Olson’s family attended much of the trial, but left when Littlewolf testified.
    “There was no way any of the family could be in the courtroom when he took the stand,” DeFoe said.
    Olson’s family want their brother remembered as a loving father, always ready to help others, an artist and someone who would never hurt anyone.
    “The way his life was taken so violently was not the way he lived,” Abrum Olson said.
    “He’s gone but not forgotten,” DeFoe said.

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