WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – Terry Olson, 57, of Andover, was released from prison in Faribault Tuesday (Sept. 13), after serving more than a decade behind bars for a murder he insists he did not commit.
Olson was convicted in 2007 for the 1979 death of Jeff Hammill, 21, whose body was found on a rural road two miles north of Montrose that summer.
“Terry Olson has absolutely always maintained his innocence,” his attorney, David Schultz of Maslon’s Litigation Group, said the day after Olson’s release. Schultz noted that Olson was offered some “incredible deals” during the 2007 trial if he pleaded guilty, but consistently refused.
Olson was originally sentenced to 17 years in prison; he was re-sentenced Tuesday under the 1980 Minnesota sentencing guidelines, and immediately released from custody.
“In an agreement with my office, we agreed to re-sentence Mr. Olson to time served,” Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly noted. “. . . Being that Mr. Olson has already served more than what the sentencing guidelines called for in 1980, his conviction remains intact, and to bring finality to these proceedings we agreed to re-sentence Mr. Olson under the 1980 guidelines. Jeff Hammill’s family was brought into the discussion and agreed with the resolution regarding this matter.”
Kelly noted that “Mr. Olson wasn’t wrongfully charged, nor was he unlawfully convicted. He was convicted in a court of law by a jury of his peers.”
Schultz took a different view of the case, stating that he believes legal errors were made during the trial, which led to a wrongful conviction.
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