Attorneys for Convicted Killer Appeal, Saying Trial Wasn't Fair

John Oldson

Defense attorneys for convicted killer John Oldson have asked a judge for a new trial.

Oldson, 47, formerly of Ord, Nebraska, was supposed to be sentenced Monday in Howard County District Court for the murder of Cathy Beard 24 years ago, but defense attorneys are fighting to overturn his conviction.

The defense says since the trial, they've gotten in touch with a key witness -- who couldn't be located to testify last time around -- and have now discovered new evidence that they believe will exonerate Oldson.

A jury convicted Oldson of second–degree murder in February for abducting and killing 30–year–old Beard in Ord back in 1989.

Prosecutors say Oldson was upset over Beard rejecting his sexual advances, so he abducted her from the Someplace Else Tavern in Ord, killed her and dumped her body in a field outside of town. Her remains were found three years later.

NTV spoke to one of the jurors who convicted Oldson Monday, and she explains why she made that decision.

"In my heart, I felt he was guilty," Kristi Lewandowski said. "They showed a lot of evidence saying that he was a guilty man, and the Ord Sheriff's Department did a good job in showing that he was guilty."

The defense, however, argued in court Monday that their client didn't get a fair trial, and that a gruesome diary detailing the murder of a woman -- once believed to be written by Oldson --was actually written by a man named Doug Olson.

Authorities say they spent months searching for Olson, to no avail. He was finally captured and arrested in Iowa on an unrelated warrant on Feb. 13.

Lewandowski says she thinks the diary is fake.

"My personal opinion, I don't think it's true," she said. "I think somebody had some fun -- in their head, fun -- and a wild imagination."

Judge Karen Noakes granted the defense a continuance today.

Oldson will appear in court again on May 6 to find out if a new trial will be granted or not. If that request is denied, he will be sentenced on June 3.