The first of two murder trials for the man accused of murdering two northern Iowa convenience store clerks is underway.
 
The jury was seated and heard opening arguments Monday in the first trial of Minnesota teenager Michael Swanson. Swanson is charged in the killing of convenience store clerks in Humboldt County and Kossuth County in November.  The Humboldt County portion of his trial is being held in Carroll.  The Kossuth County part of the trial is scheduled to begin July 26 in Rock Rapids.
 
Humboldt County Attorney, Jennifer Benson described Swanson as a “sane individual who understood what he was doing and planned it out.” Benson says Swanson told officers he shot Sheila Myers in the face so she wouldn’t be able to identify him, and told them that the two shootings he committed made him feel powerful.
 
Swanson’s defense attorney Charles Kenville told jurors that Swanson did not know what he was doing. He says Swanson was diagnosed with a mental disorder at age three and went on to have problems with his behavior, was in and out of treatment, and later got into drugs. Kenville told jurors they need to listen to all the testimony carefully and at the end of the trial he believes they will find Swanson insane.
 
Swanson is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the deaths of Vicky Bowman Hall of Burt and Myers.
 
The trial is receiving a great deal of media attention in Iowa as well as Minnesota as Swanson is from Saint Louis Park in the Twin Cities area.
 
 
RadioIowa assisted with this story.

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