MADISON, S.D. - A jockstrap pulled over his head in a high school locker room more than 50 years ago provoked a 73-year-old South Dakota man to fatally shoot his long-ago classmate, a prosecutor said Friday.
Carl Ericsson of Watertown, who last month pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree murder, was sentenced to life in prison Friday.
Ericsson was charged in the Jan. 31 killing of retired Madison High School teacher and track coach Norman Johnson, who was shot twice in the face as he answered his front door.
Kenneth Meyer, the Lake County state’s attorney, said Ericsson has indicated that the decades-old locker room incident led to the shooting. Johnson was a high school sports star and Ericsson was a student manager.
Beth Ribstein, Johnson’s daughter, said her father hadn’t spoken to Ericsson for years and it was puzzling that he held onto the grudge for so long.
“It was just goofing off in a locker room,’’ Ribstein, 50, said Friday after the sentencing.
Ericsson “hasn’t been right for many years,’’ Ribstein said, adding that he was envious of her father’s success and standing in the community.
“He was just jealous of Dad his whole life,’’ she said.
Ericsson had pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge in February and requested a jury trial.
But Meyer and defense lawyer Scott Bratland announced May 1 that a deal had been reached.
The first-degree murder charge could have carried the death penalty if prosecutors had pursued it.