No Retrial Decision Yet in Oldson Murder Case - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

No Retrial Decision Yet in Oldson Murder Case

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A judge has put off a decision on a retrial for convicted killer John Oldson, 47, saying she needs more time to review the evidence presented in court Monday.

Almost three months after Oldson was convicted in the 1989 murder of 30-year-old Ord waitress Cathy Beard, he appeared in front of Howard County judge Karin Noakes to request a new trial.

And in an unexpected move, the defense called a new key witness to testify during the hearing. They also presented newly–discovered evidence, including jailhouse phone calls from another man involved in the case, which Oldson's attorneys say can prove his innocence.

The defense called Doug Olson to the stand Monday – a man who has never even met John Oldson.

Doug Olson is currently jailed in Valley County, Neb., after authorities arrested him on an unrelated warrant in February – just days after John Oldson's trial wrapped up.

The defense says Doug Olson mailed a gruesome journal – once believed to be written by John Oldson – to Oldson's Missouri home after his trial ended.

The journal details the sexual abuse and murders of four women, who it says were kept in a cave.

The journal was described, in part, to the jurors during John Oldson's trial, but they never got to see it because, to this day, no one has been able to prove who wrote it.

Now Oldson's attorneys are saying that journal is an integral part of their defense that contains such "egregious and deplorable behavior," that it couldn't be made up. And they want a jury to see it for themselves.

In a shocking twist, the defense introduced new evidence during the hearing that places Doug Olson's DNA on the stamp and the envelope the journal was mailed to John Oldson in.

In jailhouse phone calls after his February arrest, Doug Olson reportedly talks about the journal, but on the stand Monday, he denied knowing anything about it.

He testified that a woman named Jean Backus, who he worked for off and on from 2007 through 2010, also kept a journal, and that she had a suspicious cave on her land – much like the one described in the writings. This, the defense says, could prove that Backus was holding several women hostage, including Cathy Beard, and that John Oldson wasn't her killer.

But the prosecution argued that there's no way to know if the things written in that journal ever really happened, or if it's been altered, calling it "inadmissible hearsay."

The defense says it could be at least two weeks before the judge decides whether or not to grant Oldson a retrial.

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