of the Missoulian KALISPELL - A judge on Thursday entered a plea of not guilty for a young teen accused of shooting his father, despite objections from the boy's defense attorney.
Terry Olson, 14, is charged with killing his father on May 20 at their home south of Bigfork. Olson is the cousin of Ted and Jesse Ernst, two brothers accused in an unrelated shooting.
Olson's attorney, Dan Wilson, entered a motion to dismiss the deliberate homicide charge, saying Youth Court procedures were violated when the teen was charged as an adult. Wilson argued the original charge should have been made in Youth Court rather than District Court.
"It's clear in Montana," Wilson said, "that the rights of children are greater."
District Judge Kitty Curtis disagreed, ruling that all procedural steps had been correct. She denied the motion to dismiss, saying that youths can be charged in District Court and tried as adults if there is probable cause they committed a crime of grave seriousness.
According to former Kalispell Police Chief Ad Clark, Olson admitted killing his father in an interview with detectives.
The youth was picked up for leaving school without permission, Clark said, and when police told him they were going to call his father, the boy responded, "He won't answer. He's dead."
Edwin John Olson, 43, was later found shot to death in his bed.
Following Curtis' denial, Wilson said he was not prepared to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, saying results from a psychiatric evaluation were not yet available. Until the results were in, he said, he was not willing to state that his client was of sound mind and understood the charges against him.
Prosecutors, however, asked that a plea be made in order to speed the court process. Curtis agreed, entering a plea of not guilty for the teen. Such a plea, she said, secures the boy's rights and does not require a statement of competency. The plea could be altered, she said, after the psychiatric evaluation results had been reviewed.
Curtis set a trial date for Aug. 24, and Olson remains in juvenile detention under $100,000 bond.