Petersen Pleads No Contest in GI Attorney's Murder


Michael Petersen has entered a no contest plea to a first degree murder charge in the shooting of Todd Elsbernd.

As part of the plea agreement with Hall County, the state agreed not to seek the death penalty against Petersen and dismissed a weapons charge.

Petersen previously reached a sentencing agreement in Buffalo County for the murder of his ex-wife, Nancy Petersen. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to life in prison.

Hall County Attorney Mark Young described the sequence of events of the two murders, "Mr. Petersen, after shooting his wife in Buffalo county, Nebraska, drove back to his home and switched vehicles. Petersen then left his home and went to Grand Island, Nebraska and parked in a public parking lot just to the north and east of Mr. Elsbernd's office building. As Mr. Elsbernd left his office building the defendant shot him in the back with a high caliber rifle causing his death. After being arrested Mr. Petersen made a statement to law enforcement officers admitting having fired the fatal shot."

Sentencing in Hall County will be set by Judge Icenogle.