Littlewolf Guilty in Murder Case
Posted at: 09/25/2013 12:24 PM
| Updated at: 09/25/2013 6:34 PM
By: Jon Ellis and Travis Dill
Joshua Littlewolf, a Duluth man who represented himself at trial, has been found guilty of second-degree murder.
Closing arguments concluded around noon today. The jury reached a verdict after deliberating for a little over two hours.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 1.
Littlewolf denied killing Joshua Olson in April of 2012. Police found Olson dead in Duluth's Frances Skinner Apartment Building with several knife wounds to the neck.
Littlewolf had acted as his own attorney, which has made the case unusual. It led to tense moments and even an outburst by the defendant early in the trial, but closing arguments ran smoothly on Wednesday.
Littlewolf said he had an altercation with Olson involving a knife the night of his death. However, Littlewolf argued it was self-defense and said Olson was alive when he left the apartment.
In closing arguments the prosecutor said Littlewolf alter the crime scene to muddy the waters, and with every step Littlewolf moved farther from justification for his actions after the incident.
Littlewolf did not address the fight in his closing arguments, but he questioned if the prosecutor proved his guilt through witness testimony.
The victim's family released a statement after the trial thanking everyone that worked on the case. His brother Abrum Olson posted to his Facebook page,
"On behalf of Olson-DeFoe family: We would like to thank the Duluth Police Department, their investigators: Tinsley, Decker, and Williams. And Nathan Stumme & Patty Wheeler from the St.Louis County Attorneys office for all their hard work to bring forth the guilty verdict that was read in court today. Nothing can bring Joshua back, but he can finally rest in peace. This guilty verdict helps our family move forward as best we can. Joshua will be forever loved and missed by his children, family, and friends who will keep his memory alive."
Littlewolf testified on his own behalf yesterday and was able to talk freely during his testimony for as long as he wanted.
Prosecutors cross-examined Littlewolf Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning before the trial moved to closing arguments.
During his testimony, Littlewolf told many stories about his upbringing saying he was aggressive and angry growing up because of how his Native American ancestors were treated. Littlewolf also said he turned to drinking when his fiancee died.
Those stories were the focus of most of his morning testimony. It appeared some jurors were becoming exhausted and people in the courtroom were visibly frustrated.
"It was irrelevant," Rachel, who was a friend of the victim, said.
In the afternoon, Littlewolf started focusing on the alleged murder that police said took place at the Frances Skinner Apartments back in April 2012.
In his testimony, Littlewolf admitted to cutting and beating up the victim, Joshua Olson.
"I was just pounding the sh**t out of him," Littlewolf said. "I knocked him out. He was out cold."
Littlewolf said the fight started after Olson stepped on his leg while he was sleeping. Littlewolf also said Olson was the first person to grab the knife.
While Littlewolf did admit to using the knife, Littlewolf said he didn't make the fatal cut across the victim's neck.
"I didn't do that, what you've seen in those pictures," Littlewolf said.
Littlewolf said he left the apartment after the fight and was later picked up in Saint Cloud. When we was finally arrested, he said he was shocked.
"I had no knowledge whatsoever about a murder," Littlewolf said.