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Old Grudges Die Hard (Literally)

Updated on June 16, 2012
Carl Ericsson 73 sentenced to life in prison for high school prank murder
Carl Ericsson 73 sentenced to life in prison for high school prank murder

Thin line between pranks and bullying

I'm pretty sure everyone has done it before, well at least I have. I've had my share of moments when I was younger and decided to pull off pranks on others back in my grade school days. I've even turned the tables on some kids who thought they could bully me back in high school because I was considered a geek. I was smart but could defend myself and they took my smartness and tried to take advantage of it. It didn't quite end in either of our favors because they didn't pass their grades and I missed many days of school due to fighting.

Pranks and bullying have a way to catching up to people. Just because one person thinks something is a joke doesn't mean the victim will feel the same way. It's something about being the center of attention during an embarrassing moment that can lead someone to commit murder. This is exactly what happened with Carl Ericsson of Watertown.

Jockstrap pulled overhead leads to murder 50+ years later

73 year old Carl Ericsson had a grudge with a long ago classmate for pulling a jockstrap over his head back in high school, which he held onto for more than 50 years. He tracked down that classmate and rang the doorbell. When the man answered the door, Carl wanted the man to verify that he was that person. When he confirmed his identity, Carl Ericsson shot the man twice in the face with a .45 caliber handgun, taking his life.

The strange thing about this murder is the fact that the defendant and victim haven't spoken to each other in years. This humiliation happened back in the 1950s in a high school locker room. Carl Ericsson was originally charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of his old classmate Norman Johnson, who was a track star at Madison High School. During that time, Carl was a student sports manager. He pleaded guilty to second degree murder but mentally ill.

Carl has a long history of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression that, according to psychiatrist, was treatment resistant. The psychiatrist said Ericsson was extremely depressed and suicidal when they first met, stating " I wish each night I wouldn't wake up in the morning." Others, like the victims daughter, believe the slaying was jealousy because the victim was well liked by many people in the community. More than 600 people attended Norman Johnson's funeral.


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