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Swedish Radio honours US murderer

The Local · 9 Jun 2010, 06:37

Published: 09 Jun 2010 06:37 GMT+02:00

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Östberg was emotional as she lined up alongside artists, politicians, business leaders, journalists and other establishment figures for the traditional group picture which features the hosts adorned with a summer wreath.

"It is such an honour to be asked. This programme is so Swedish and to take part is to form a connection to Sweden again. Here sat my grandfather and grandmother and listened and it is important for me to get in touch with my roots," Annika Östberg said.

The Sveriges Radio show is so popular that in 2008 it fought off a challenge from the retail giant Ica over its patented right to the Swedish word for summer, "Sommar".

The show is this year celebrating its 50 year anniversary and once again features personalities from all spheres of Swedish society talking for 90 minutes about a subject of their choice and accompanied by their favourite music.

Östberg, who was convicted of two murders in a 1981 California trial and was repatriated to Sweden in the spring of 2009, plans to talk about "survival" in a US prison.

"I am going to talk about moments which change your life, both good and bad. What home means - that it is something that it both inside and around you - and about being home again," she said.

Another notable "Summer" host is Eva Gabrielsson, the common-law widow of Swedish crime writer Stieg Larsson, author of the Millennium trilogy of books that she says have made her partner of over 30 years into a figure she doesn't recognise.

"(He has become) a trademark. I do not recognise the person who is presented publicly all over the place at the moment. It has nothing to do with the person I lived with for 30 years," she said.

Story continues below…

Other "Summer" hosts include the golfer Annika Sörenstam, former ABB head Percy Barnevik and singer Jill Johnson.

Sörenstam, the most successful female golfer in history, will open the season of programmes on midsummer's eve on June 25th.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

07:40 June 9, 2010 by Rey Stockholm
So you commit double murder and get feted as a celebrity - unbelievable.

I hope she opens her piece by showing contrition and apologises for her crimes, notiwhtstanding that she has served prison time.
07:41 June 9, 2010 by Tennessee Thunder
She should have been fried in electric chair in California.
08:28 June 9, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
Her portrayal as a victim in the Swedish press is a shameless fabrication wholly without any factual basis. The facts and circumstances surrounding three separate incidents, two of them clearly first degree homicides by California law, indicate that she is a serial killer, not the victim of a harsh, punitive system scapgoating an innocent.

She rightfully served a long sentence for her conscious decisions and actions. She has now been released, first to Swedish authorities, then into Swedish society. It boggles the mind that Swedish officials have used this as a shameless propaganda opportunity. Typically, what point they are attempting to make is unclear. Are they trolling for votes among the sociopathic, or simply showing solidarity with antisocial behavior wherever it may be?

Whatever the case, they will need to keep an eye on her. Unlike people who commit other types of homicides, serial killers (and she fits the profile) will repeat- even decades later. If that should happen, It'll be interesting watching Swedish authorities shuck and jive to explain it.
08:36 June 9, 2010 by Kevin Harris
28 years.

"He's paid what he's owed. He's square with the house again."

The Green Mile
08:44 June 9, 2010 by Ned Smitty
Sure she did her time... but don't don't make a celebrity out of a drug addict cop killer.
08:45 June 9, 2010 by calebian22
Being square with the house is one thing, being a keynote speaker and a "folk hero" is ridiculous.
08:50 June 9, 2010 by RobinHood
The title to this piece is provocotive and misleading. Change it please The Local. Keep calm everybody.
08:54 June 9, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
As I said Kevin, she is "square with the house". That doesn't make her a hero. I'm "square with the house", too, and I haven't been invited as a honored guest to any high-profile national events. How about you?
09:12 June 9, 2010 by Globalnomad
Why is anybody surprised by this ? The worse part is she's probably sjukskriven because of the stress of the big bad California justice system. I bet she's a regular at Systembolaget !
09:16 June 9, 2010 by crofab
Absolutely absurd!. Is this some sort of protest by Sweden because they are disappointed she didn't get 2 years in prison as she would have back home?
09:27 June 9, 2010 by cogito
Östberg, and her drug-dealer boyfriend were on the run after murdering a restaurant owner. It was not her first killing. Their car became disabled.

A California patrolman stopped to help them. As he was walking back to his patrol car, they shot the policeman in the back of the head.

He was the father of two small children.

Ösberg is celebrated by Swedish state radio as a hero.

Sverige är fantastic.
10:02 June 9, 2010 by Kevin Harris
"Sweden makes folk hero of US murderer"

The Local's title to this is very misleading. She's been asked to speak on the radio, that's all. There's nothing in the text to say she's been made a "folk hero", and I don't think many/any Swedes think that she is.

I understand the Local wants as many people to show an interest in its newspaper as possible, but misleading the readers is not good journalism.
10:39 June 9, 2010 by calebian22
Semantics is the cornerstone of communication. Having an eyegrabbing title draws the reader into the story. The "misleading" title doesn't change the fact is that she is an excon slated to speak on a very popular Swedish program about her jail survival in the US. How about this instead. She can talk about how Swedes should not follow her example of being a drugged out skank who helped kill two innocent people.
10:40 June 9, 2010 by Åskar

Before you say things like "serial killers (and she fits the profile)" I suggest you learn what denotes a serial killer. Then people might be able to take you seriously.
11:02 June 9, 2010 by Kevin Harris
"Sweden makes folk hero of US murderer"


"Swedish Radio honours US murderer"

The new title is still misleading, and therefore still poor journalism. It's not an "honour" to speak on the radio, and I don't think you will find many/any Swedes who "honour" her either.

Try "Convicted Murderer Will Speak on Popular Radio Show". It doesn't ignite the rednecks, but at least its accurate.
11:03 June 9, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
I probably should have said she comes within the definition, not that she fits the profile, as there is none. See "Serial Murder Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators" by the Behaviorial Analysis Unit of the FBI. Then people might be able to take you seriously.
11:17 June 9, 2010 by cogito
The headline has it right: It is an honour to be invited as guest on Summer.

As a rule, the guests have achieved something other than murder, robbery and drug dealing.

What's next? Little Engla's murderer as singalong leader on Allsång på Skansen?
11:53 June 9, 2010 by Kevin Harris

People are chosen to speak on radio shows because they are interesting, not necessarily worthy of our honour. The Local has reported this story because it is interesting, and you have certainly shown your interest in it, which proves the Local right. I don't think anyone could fairly accuse The Local of honouring the murderer by reporting it, or you (or me) for reading and commenting on it. The title is still misleading.

She's a convicted murderer, she's done her time, she's got a story to tell, people are interested in her story, let her tell it. Who knows, maybe some good will come of it, sometimes it does in these circumstances.
12:21 June 9, 2010 by Mackan2017
Kevin Harris:

Interesting??? What makes her anymore interesting than any other drug-addicted double-murderer???

It's totally sick, but also a fair reflection of Swedish society as it stands today. The very same society that she has returned to sponge from.

She's a piece of human garbage who hopefully doesn't have very long to live.
12:31 June 9, 2010 by RobinHood

This story is so boring and insignificant, you did not read it, or comment on it and the post above is a figment of our imagination.
12:55 June 9, 2010 by cogito
#Kevin Harris

No. Österberg is totally uninteresting. She is a fairly common breed of lowlife.

What is newsworty--and what the Local is reporting--is that Swedish State Radio, is giving a murderer, drug dealing robber a pulpit to justify her disgusting life.

Oh wait, maybe SR see her as a role model for Swedish women.
13:02 June 9, 2010 by Audrian
I see nationalism gathering momentum in Sweden. Treating a convicted criminal as a victim helps the cause of nationalism, and the interest of right wing parties, which benefit from it in the long run. The claim with most nationalist drives is that the country has unknown enemies out there. Minorities in due time will be used as an excuse to stimulate nationalism further. History be our witness there is nothing good that will come out of it. The US elite rulers use it to hide the crime they are committing in the world in the interest of big capital.

I agree the woman needs sympathy particularly since she is one time offender and unwilling participant in the crime committed. But she definitely is not a hero!
13:07 June 9, 2010 by cogito

Where in heaven's name did you pick up the idea she is a one-time offender.

Go do some reading.
13:40 June 9, 2010 by AirForceGuy
Glad she's now a ward of the Swedish state and not the California taxpayers. Mother Sweden is sooooo kind to take her back. Just the kind of role model need by young Swedes.
13:46 June 9, 2010 by ehwhat?
How about a few facts?

"On 30 April 1981 Östberg and her boyfriend Bob Cox robbed and killed the ex-restaurant owner Joe Torre. Östberg sold stolen meat to restaurants and had made an appointment in a warehouse with Torre. While she pretended to bring the meat out of the truck, Bob Cox shot him. They robbed Torre and drove away. Next day on the highway their vehicle became disabled. Sgt Helbush stopped to render aid to Cox and Östberg-Deasy. According to the local district attorney from Lake County CA Lester Fleming, he has stated that evidence exists that leads one to believe that Östberg may actually have shot Sgt Helbush as he walked back to his patrol car. The conflicting story that Östberg-Deasy states is this: whilst Östberg pretended to search for a driver's licence that didn't exist, Cox shot Helbush in the back of the head. Östberg told Cox to get rid of the body and steal the policeman's wallet before the couple stole the police car."

She also reloaded the weapons for her partner during the gun battle that lead to her capture and was cold sober at the time.

How wonderful that she has been "honoured" and can reconnect to the Swedish people. Shame.
14:15 June 9, 2010 by unforgiven
Welcome back to your homeland Annika!

We are ready here to honor you for the great job you have done and pay for all your expenses gladddddlyyy. In fact, we love you so much that we would like to make a hero out of you for all Swedes and damn non-Swedes. Take the microphone and talk about the injustice occurred to you in California......

What a shame!!

A double murderer addicted cop killer is honored in SR. W*T*F!

Everything is so sick in this country that I want to vomit continuously...
15:11 June 9, 2010 by Roy E
Sveriges Radio - where perpetrators are the victims.

To say these people are morally confused is an gracious understatement. Evil is actually closer to the mark.
15:31 June 9, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
At the risk of speaking too much: You (if the shoe fits, wear it) are on the internet right now. Take a few minutes and gather the facts before making a comment. It's easy. Then we can at least all be discussing the same facts, regardless of how we interpret them.

It's a little depressing to see how often people with extreme opinions simply ignore facts. Can't have a discussion that way. Is that the point?
17:14 June 9, 2010 by Audrian
@ congito

I stand to be corrected, thanks. I was a victim of misinformation. This makes my argument, see # 22, stand on an even much firmer ground.
17:25 June 9, 2010 by calebian22

So you are saying that her slot in the program is somehow connected to Swedish nationalism and not some liberal, everybody deserves a second chance or 20, nonsense? I don't necessarily disagree with your idea of common enemy mentality to promote nationalism (history supports it actually) but linking her appearance to some sort of nationalist agenda is a bit of a stretch.
18:16 June 9, 2010 by Audrian
Calebian 22.

Look at history. In WWII, German nationalism was problematic. The west and Russia did not win the war without biting the nationalist-drums. People were expected to be patriotic when the US illegally invaded Iraq. In the Senate, which was supposed to be a discussion forum, only two or so people criticized Bush over the Iraqi invasion and they were severely criticized for being unpatriotic. Look at the president of the US who is wearing US flag-pin to show his patriotism. Drivers were hanging their flags where it was easy to see.

Others countries who are fiercely nationalist (and governments play a role) include Israel, Iran, as well as North and South Korea.

If you think is "a secon chance" mentality, why is it other prisoners were not given with similar opportunities. This is not explained.
18:50 June 9, 2010 by J Jack
Her boyfriend at the time killed the restaurant owner. I believe she shot the cop in the back and hung it on her boyfriend. Either way she participated in the murders which makes her a murderer. She ran away from home and grew up in druggie squats and dark hoods. I can't see how prison survival would be so difficult for her. It probably saved her. Maybe I can get a job on that radio show for being a doper and a deadbeat.
19:35 June 9, 2010 by tgolan
It's a total discrace that will make it harder to get swedish prisoners sent home in the futur
19:51 June 9, 2010 by Hurly
Do what I did.. mail to


and say what you think!
21:18 June 9, 2010 by xykat
I have never taken the Swedish justice system here seriously. You can kill someone and you get a way with it.

I REALLY resent the fact that some nationalists are using her to try and show how big and evil America is and how this girl was caught up in it all. They portray her as an innocent and naive Swedish girl who got in with the wrong crowd in the USA. I even believed that myself for awhile until reading some of the facts here. I didn't know she helped to kill these people in such a cold blooded way.Jeez!

When you hear about robbing and killing in the way it was done by her and her partner then you start to support the death penalty.

Hopefully she is too old to do any more damage now but I do think she should still pay for her crimes. What about the families of the victims? What about the victims themselves?
21:36 June 9, 2010 by Kevin Harris

"No. Österberg is totally uninteresting."

If you are right, her "totally uninteresting" interview will pass by with a low audience and without report from the media (even by the drama queens here at the Local).

If you are wrong, the audience will be level or higher, and the media (including the Local) will report on it the next day.
22:19 June 9, 2010 by bezjaj
This is exactly this that make murderers of small boys..what a offense to the murdered cops. The puta radio channel should pay..
22:43 June 9, 2010 by calebian22

As I said, I don't disagree with the common enemy mentality associated with nationalism, however, who would be the common enemy that the right wing extremists of Sweden are demonizing by sponsoring or wishing Österberg to be on this program? How the villification of the US justice system and the non integration of Balkan refugees and various other refugees into Swedish society (Swedish right winger swan song) relate in your mind is a little confusing to me, through the spectrum of this story.
01:24 June 10, 2010 by Larry Thrash
Western Civilization is doomed when decent people cannot get work but murderers are rewarded. How many conservatives work at Radio Sweden? We all know the answer.
05:22 June 10, 2010 by dau tieng 59
The reason she doesn't meet FBI criteria is that she was caught before she killed the third time.

To the oerson who said this would make it more difficult to have Swedish prisoners returned. Don't worry we'll continue to send the dirt bags back to you, we don't want to supporet them.

German Nationalism was not conservative it was National Socialist Party. The nationalism that has caused the most destruction in the 20th century was left wing nationalism. So maybe you should be worried about Radio Sweden pumping up Swedish nationalism. Does Sweden have any nice isolated railheads they could build some nice vaction spots for the undisirables?
08:07 June 10, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
Dear Mr. 59:

Two points: She pled guilty to a killing that took place in her apartment years before the other incidents. She was a minor at the time.

In addition, there is disagreement among experts whether two killings can be viewed as "serial", depending on the facts.
08:59 June 10, 2010 by cogito
@unforgiven who writes: "A double murderer addicted cop killer is honored in SR.

Everything is so sick in this country that I want to vomit continuously..."

Think of it this way: She is the perfect symbol for Sweden.
04:23 June 11, 2010 by sissygirl
She was convicted in California when there was no death penalty in that state. She should be glad she wasn't in Texas. So do swedes really want to hear her story? We'll find out after the program airs.
15:54 June 11, 2010 by Canadian Dad
That this is happening in Sweden is certainly no surprise. Sweden is well known as a state governed almost exclusively by socialist feminazis.
23:05 June 11, 2010 by telzey
I'm so glad she's back in Sweden. The US seems to be the place Swedes come when they want to kill people (like that Swedish rapper who beat and ran over a helpless pedestrian in Hollywood a few months ago). Please, Swedes, do your killing in Sweden. The penalties are a lot lighter, for one thing. And some of us here in the US will get to live a little bit longer.
01:43 June 13, 2010 by cattie
This is so disturbing. The warped sense in Sweden that FAME nullifies morality. She should not be famous, she should be INFAMOUS a pariah. Instead Tiger Woods or Jonas Bergström are infamous for having sex, and the killer of a helpful father of small children is honored. I won't get into the details, because anyone who knows this society can fill in the blanks. Since murder is not really a problem with the authorities, and it is so obvious to ME a law-abiding mother, it makes me shudder to think what opportunites ruthless people percieve.
12:48 June 13, 2010 by Marc the Texan
She never got square with the house. She got off easy thanks to the overactive lobbying of the Swedish government. Now they are turning her into a folk hero for serving time in an American prison and forgiving her for her unforgivable crimes. Its the Swedish way.
23:12 June 13, 2010 by Terry Siederer
You're a sad lot some of you. Yes she could have done more to prevent her boyfriend committing the murders but she did NOT pull the trigger on either occasion. These are the facts.
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