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Michael John Anderson

Michael John Anderson

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Michael John Anderson is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, formerly a resident of Savage
Savage, Minnesota
Savage is a suburban city south-southwest of downtown Minneapolis in Scott County in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city is situated on the south bank of the Minnesota River in a region commonly referred to as South of the River, comprising the southern portion of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the...

, Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, who in 2009 was convicted of having murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

ed Katherine Ann Olson in October 2007. Because Anderson met Olson through Craigslist
Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities featuring free online classified advertisements, with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums....

, a popular classified advertising
Classified advertising
Classified advertising is a form of advertising which is particularly common in newspapers, online and other periodicals which may be sold or distributed free of charge...

 website, the media dubbed him a Craigslist Killer
Craigslist Killer
Craigslist Killer is a name given by the media to individuals who were accused of murdering their victims after meeting the victims through Craigslist, a popular classified advertising website...

, a generic term for murderers who find victims by placing or responding to ads in Craigslist. Anderson was the first killer given this title in news accounts.

The crime

Michael John Anderson, age 19, murdered Katherine Anne Olson, a 24-year-old theater and Hispanic studies graduate of St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College is a coeducational, residential, four-year, private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, United States. It was founded in 1874 by a group of Norwegian-American immigrant pastors and farmers, led by Pastor Bernt Julius Muus. The college is named after Olaf II of Norway,...

 and temporary nanny
A nanny, childminder or child care provider, is an individual who provides care for one or more children in a family as a service...

, on October 25, 2007, in a Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

 suburb after seeing an ad for her services as a nanny on Craigslist.

The prosecution charged that Anderson created and posted a fake advertisement on Craigslist "in order to lure a woman to his home so he might experience what it felt like to kill."

Posing as a married woman named "Amy" who was looking for nanny services, Anderson exchanged emails with Olson. When she arrived at his parents' house for an interview, he shot her in the back with a .357 Magnum
.357 Magnum
The .357 S&W Magnum , or simply .357 Magnum, is a revolver cartridge created by Elmer Keith, Phillip B. Sharpe, Colonel D. B. Wesson of firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson, and Winchester. It is based upon Smith & Wesson's earlier .38 Special cartridge. The .357 Magnum cartridge was introduced in...

 and put her body into the trunk of her car. He then drove to a Burnsville Nature Preserve, where he abandoned it.

The car with Olson's body in it was discovered on October 26, 2007.


Anderson, who was the first murderer referred to by the media as a "Craigslist Killer", was found guilty of first degree murder and received a life sentence without parole on April 1, 2009.

Alan Margoles, the lead attorney arguing in Anderson's defense, stated that the killing of Olson was "accidental" and that he plans an appeal because during the trial he had not been allowed to present evidence that Anderson has Asperger syndrome
Asperger syndrome
Asperger's syndrome that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development...

, an autism spectrum disorder. Prosecutors have an equal number of psychologists who reject the conclusion of Asperger syndrome.