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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Prosecutors want to reopen Baneheia case

State prosecutors have formally sought, as expected, a reopening of the case against Jan Helge Andersen, who recently emerged as the sole defendant in the rapes and murders of two little girls at Baneheia in Kristiansand in May 2000. They now believe Andersen, who was acquitted of one of the murders, acted alone in both assaults that set off a national trauma.

Andersen was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the rape and murder of the youngest victim, eight-year-old Stine Sofie Sørstrønen, but acquitted in the murder of her friend, 10-year-old Lena Sløgedal Paulsen. Andersen, who already has served his prison time, blamed Paulsen’s murder and the entire attack on a former friend of his own, Viggo Kristiansen, who was convicted and sentenced for both rapes and murders and served nearly 21 years in prison.

Kristiansen had consistently denied any involvement in the case, though, and ultimately was cleared after one of the biggest travesties of justice in Norwegian history. New DNA technology and revelations of faulty police work 20 years ago left Andersen as the sole defendant, also regarding Paulsen’s murder. He now faces a new indictment and trial, if the state commission in charge of reopening cases agrees to the prosecutors’ request.

That’s widely expected, in order to avoid leaving the murder of Paulsen unresolved and finally offer a sense of closure for the young victims’ parents. It’s unclear how many more years Andersen would need to serve in prison if convicted, given the time he’s already served.

Kristiansen, meanwhile, is expected to receive tens of millions of kroner in state compensation for spending two decades of his life in jail for crimes he did not commit. Prosecutors have claimed that they now have verified DNA from Andersen on both girls. He has already admitted stabbing one of them to death. No DNA from Kristiansen was ever found. staff





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