Ex-neo-Nazi held in new grisly murder

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A 55-year-old former neo-Nazi convicted in the execution-style Hadeland murders in 1983, has been arrested again and charged with murdering and burning the body of a new victim on Wednesday. Johnny Olsen, who later changed his name, has denied the charges against him, but the Oslo City Court ordered that he be held in custody for at least the next four weeks, one of them in isolation, while police investigate the case.

Maridalen is the valley that supplies most of Oslo’s drinking water and serves as a popular hiking and skiing area. The body was found in the area at the far right of this photo, near the Hammeren trailhead. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Olsen was arrested late Wednesday afternoon, not far from the smoldering remains of a body found in the forest in Maridalen, a popular hiking and skiing area on the outskirts of Oslo. Fire department vehicles had been called to the scene of what was believed to be a new forest fire, only to find a still-burning body.

The body, found just northwest of Hammeren in Maridalen, was impossible to identify and has been sent to autopsy. Police were unable to say whether the body was that of a man or a woman, or anything about the age or nationality of the victim.

“We’re struggling to identify the victim,” prosecutor Pål-Fredrik Hjort Kraby told newspaper VG on Thursday. “That says something about the condition of the body.”

‘All based on lies’
Police fanned out in the area around Hammeren and, according to newspaper VG, arrested Olsen just a few hundred meters away. Kraby claimed there were “technical findings” that tied him to the murder: “I can’t go into more detail, but it strengthens the case.”

Olsen firmly denies the charges against him. “This is all based on lies, everything is lies,” Olsen exclaimed in court on Thursday. The court, citing preliminary evidence from the police, nonetheless decided that it’s probable Olsen has killed the victim or contributed to the killing, and later set the body on fire.

“We have a main theory of murder, but are holding options open that this was a suicide or accident,” Kraby told VG Thursday afternoon.”But given the circumstances, we believe it was a murder followed by destruction of the body.”

‘Hadeland Murders’ shocked the nation
Olsen was convicted, at the age of 18, and sentenced to 18 years in prison for the so-called “Hadeland Murders” that shocked the entire country at the time, in February 1981. He and another man, John Charles Hoff, were convicted of driving two other men to the bridge over Leirsjøen, a fairly remote area of Hadeland north of Oslo.

They were all members of the neo-Nazi group known as Norges Germanske Armé (Norway’s Germanic Army), and the two men taken to the bridge had demanded payment for a weapons theft they had carried out. Instead both were shot in the neck with a pistol, but Oslen reportedly panicked when his pistol misfired. His colleague then fired a machine gun at the victims, whose bodies were found riddled with 29 bullets.

Two other men were also convicted of the murders, one of them as an accomplice.

Olsen’s defense attorney Fridtjof Feydt stressed to VG that Olsen left the neo-Nazi milieu more than 30 years ago. He was released from prison in 1993, after having served 12 years of his 18-year sentence.

I 1998, however, Olsen was convicted of excessive use of force, after he’d shot another person in the hand. He was also convicted for making threats with a firearm.

The Oslo City Court accepted claims the defendant had withdrawn from the neo-Nazi movement in Norway. It noted, however, that he has a long record of violence, including having stabbed his live-in partner and possessing firearms. In 2014 he was convicted of violence again, but  received a suspended sentence.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund