Cold Case Sentencing Continued Until Summer

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

John Oldson will have to wait to find out what his sentence for a 1989 Valley County murder will be as his defense pushes for a retrial.

Back in February, after a 10 day trial, a jury found Oldson guilty of the murder of Cathy Beard.

Oldson was set to be sentenced on Monday, but his attorneys claim the state has withheld evidence from them, and asked the judge for more time to build their case for a retrial.

The defense is fighting to submit more information about copies diary pages that were anonymously mailed to Oldson after his arrest. The graphic and incomplete pages suggest that others may have been responsible for the kidnapping and deaths of at least four missing people, one of whom may be Beard.

The jury was not allowed to see the pages, but the Valley County sheriff was questioned about them during the trial.

"We know what was in the journals, I mean, they still kind of explained to us that somebody, we don't know who, wrote them, and we knew that there was something about a death up there with several different women," says Kristie Lewandowski, a member of the jury that found Oldson guilty of second degree murder. "That didn't sway anything really."

The prosecution told the judge they have reason to believe that the man the defense says mailed these pages to Oldson's family is in fact their author. They say the pages aren't credible because they describe a woman named 'Kathy' being hit by a car, but expert medical witnesses said that Beard's injuries were not consistent with that kind of trauma.

But the judge ordered the state to give the defense any evidence regarding the diary and its investigation. Despite the motion for retrial, Lewandowski says they made the right decision.

"I just hope that Cathy can rest in peace, and I hope this will finally give her that peace," she says.

The judge told the court she was still looking into Oldson's prior convictions that weren't made a part of the presentence investigation. A hearing for a retrial is set for May 6, and sentencing was set for June 3.

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