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Annika Östberg to be released in May 2011

TT/The Local · 16 Nov 2009, 14:25

Published: 16 Nov 2009 14:25 GMT+01:00

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According to a ruling handed down on Monday by the district court in Örebro in central Sweden, Östberg needs a transitional period of one and half years before she can be allowed to return to society.

As a result, her life sentence has been reduced to 45 years.

According to Swedish law, convicted criminals are eligible for release after serving two-thirds of their sentence. In Östberg’s case, that corresponds with a release some time in May 2011.

The court gave great weight to the long time Östberg spent in prison and the limited number of furloughs she was granted. The court also took into consideration the fact that Östberg has a limited understanding of Swedish society after having been inside a US prison for so many years.

Östberg was transferred to Hinseberg women’s prison outside of Örebro from a prison in California last spring. In October she was moved to Färingsö prison, which is a lower security facility.

Prosecutors and the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket) argued during court proceedings last week that Östberg ran a medium- to high-risk of reverting to a life of crime upon release.

“As far as her punishment is concerned, Annika Östberg has paid for her crime. But the question has been raised as to whether it’s too early to change the sentence,” said prosecutor Gunnar Brodin at the hearing.

The Örebro District court ruled, however, that there is not a major risk of Östberg reverting to violent crime.

As a result, the court found that there was no reason not to reduce her sentence.

Östberg moved to California with her mother in the 1960s, and suffered from serious drug problems before running away from home as a teenager.

She later started a relationship with a drug dealer, Brian Cox. In April 1981, the couple argued with restaurant owner, Joe Torre, over money which resulted in Cox shooting Torre dead.

Story continues below…

The next day, Cox and Östberg's were fixing a flat tyre on the side of the road when Richard Helbush pulled over to help them. Thinking they were about to be arrested, Cox shot Helbush dead as well.

The couple fled in the police car and were later arrested after a police pursuit and a gunfight. Cox hanged himself in his cell prior to the trial, while Östberg was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murders.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:12 November 16, 2009 by Random Guy
insane - not the killer - sweden! she should stay in jail for life.
12:08 November 16, 2009 by Osokin
Apparently she was only accesory to murder, never killed anyone herself, but got life anyway ... bizarre.
12:15 November 16, 2009 by Internuncio
Officer Helbush was still alive when the pair took off. Leaving any person, especially a helpful police officer to die, must be a crime. In California, Östberg was convicted of complicity homicide which fairly sums up what she is guilty of.
13:22 November 16, 2009 by Globalnomad
Her ultimate punishment is worse than life in prison in California. She will be living in Sweden unemployed and on " bidrag " eating macaroni and Findus köttbullar and washing it down with Falcon Extra Strong beer staring at the cold grey sky the rest of her pathetic life. Good riddance Annika !
13:48 November 16, 2009 by Beynch
Dear Annika; You've committed one of the worst offenses one can possibly do in a civilized society. First degree murder of a law enforcement officer! In many states such a crime is a capital offense. You do not deserve to even see the light of day outside prison walls. There are no mitigating circumstances. I sincerely hope that the District Court's decision is appealed, and that you live out your days on the inside of Hinseberg. Society's need for revenge is a valid concept Annika.
16:59 November 16, 2009 by Random Guy
.... at least she did not file share... then they would lock her up and toss out the key. that is a crime much worse than what she did!
17:10 November 16, 2009 by mkvgtired
What did California think was going to happen?
17:24 November 16, 2009 by Bumblebeetuna
28 years sounds about fitting. Her entire life was taken away. I'm satisfied.
18:24 November 16, 2009 by Thompsuleme
I think its fair after 28 years, I mean if she shows remorse and a good time she did´most of the time in the states, far better than the child molesters and rapist that get 6-18months and 16 year old murderers(stureby) who get all expence paid 18 months vacation.
20:51 November 16, 2009 by Weekend_warrior
dude she took someones life! 28 years in prison and now being released...how could that satisfy you?

As far as I am concerned Sweden has an open invitation to murder.
00:18 November 17, 2009 by delusion1982
I am very happy that you all will not be judges in Sweden
03:50 November 17, 2009 by baychus
I wonder how some people think. This animal aided and abetted the killing of not just one person but 2 and who knows how many they have killed b4. And some people say its fair or they are satisfied...She had a choice and those people didn't. She is suppose to rot in jail.I wonder what Sweden is doing........
06:41 November 17, 2009 by Makaveli
What is wrong with this country. A life sentence reduced to almost nothing. Am amazed, but again am not - Oh! i forgot this is Sweden. The country where u can get away with a slap on the wrist for murder.
09:51 November 17, 2009 by Kevin Harris
Taking part in the murder of a Californian policeman is no better, nor worse, than taking part in the murder of anyone else.

Abbetting a murder is a very serious crime, and 28 years inprisonment is a very serious punishment.
14:25 November 17, 2009 by mieoux
If she had done this in Texas she's be dead. Sweden does not punish crime strongly enough.
23:30 November 18, 2009 by odinmp5
yes.. accesory to murder is terible..

but 28 years in jail can change a person completely.

i think sweden should keep an eye on her and let her start her life again.
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