Term of Swede convicted of US murders reduced

AP News
Posted: Nov 16, 2009 6:57 AM

A Swedish woman who was sentenced to life for a double murder in California will be released in 2011, a Swedish court ruled Monday.

The Orebro district court said Annika Ostberg has expiated her offense and is not expected to return to committing crimes after being freed.

Ostberg was convicted in California in 1983 of murdering a retired restaurateur in Stockton and a Lake County sheriff's sergeant.

The one-time San Francisco flower child pleaded guilty to two first-degree murder charges to avoid execution. Prosecutors said her boyfriend fired the fatal shots in 1981, and hanged himself in jail while awaiting trial.

Ostberg was transferred to a Swedish prison in April, after nearly 26 years of pleas from Swedish authorities and two denied requests in 1985 and 1995.

The Orebro court ruled that Ostberg, who is now 55, can have her sentence reduced to 45 years. She was first imprisoned in 1981, and Swedish prisoners are normally released after serving two-thirds of their sentences.

The court said this means she will be freed in 2011.

Swedish prosecutor Gunnar Brodin told local news agency TT he considers appealing the decision.

A tearful Ostberg testified last week about her crimes, saying she acknowledges the pain it has caused to the relatives of the victims and her family.