The murders of two gas station clerks, Vicky Bowman-Hall and Sheila Meyers, by Michael Swanson are detailed in the latest episode of Evil Lives Here on Investigation Discovery.
On November 15, 2010, Swanson — who was 17 at the time — stole his mother’s vehicle, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and credit cards in the middle of the night and drove from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, to Algona, Iowa.
At around 9 pm of that same night, he entered the Crossroads gas station armed with a loaded gun and duffle bag, demanding the store clerk, who was identified as 47-year-old Vicky Bowman-Hall, to hand over money and cigarettes.
Although Bowman-Hall complied, Swanson, who was wearing a ski mask, shot her in the face. The mother of 10 was pronounced dead at Kossuth Regional Health Center.
When 10:30 pm approached, Swanson entered another convenience store, Kum & Go in Humboldt, where he shot and killed the 61-year-old store clerk, Sheila Meyers. Her body was discovered the following day by a coworker.
Hours after the shooting, police told to the public that they were in search of an SUV with Minnesota license plates. Not long after that, officials received a call from a McDonald’s employee, claiming that Swanson was in the drive-thru ordering a burger and ice tea.
Employees stalled the teen until police arrived by telling him they were out of beef. Swanson was arrested at the scene and taken to the county jail on first-degree murder and first-degree robbery charges.
During the trial, Kathleen “Kathy” Swanson stated that she tried to get her son help early on when she noticed something was off with him, telling the court that he didn’t like other children.
There was one incident where she caught him preparing to jump on an infant lying on the floor — he was a toddler at the time. At the age of 11, her son began seeing a psychiatrist who told her that he was a “lost cause and needed to be locked up.”
Katheleen said her son told her he would often think about harming his family. She said they would always stop him before he harmed anyone, but no one was there to stop him on November 15.
On June 23, 2011, Swanson smiled in court while a jury returned with a guilty verdict for the murder of Meyers. Hours later, Kossuth County Judge David Lester sentenced him to life in prison — Swanson continued to smile.
He later pled guilty to killing Bowman-Hall and received another life sentence. Swanson was then ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to both of the victim’s families.
Evil Lives Here — I Tried To Prevent This, airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.