An appeals court in Oslo has ruled that Viggo Kristiansen, convicted and sentenced in the rape and murder of two young girls in Kristiansand in May 2000, won’t be released from prison. He was sentenced to Norway’s maximum 21 years of confinement with forvaring, which means he can be held for life.
Kristiansen has consistently claimed innocence in the murders that shocked the nation 21 years ago. Eight-year-old Stine Sofie Sørstrønen and 10-year-old Lena Sløgedal Paulsen were both found raped and strangled two days after they disappeared from an early summer outing to Baneheia, a popular hiking and swimming areas in the hills above the southern Norwegian city.
Kristiansen and one of his friends at the time, Jan Helge Andersen, were later arrested for the crimes. Andersen confessed and has already served his time. Kristiansen, meanwhile, has called repeatedly for a new trial and his most recent request was granted in February. That’s another reason why Kristiansen wants to be released from prison by the time that trial starts.
Two of the three judges on the appeals panel, however, decided that Kristiansen still represents a threat to society. They pointed to a risk that Kristiansen will commit new serious crimes and should therefore remain in custody. Kristiansen’s attorney Arvid Sjødin immediately claimed that the panel’s decision will be appealed to Norway’s Supreme Court because its ruling was not unanimous.