Esa Åkerlund

Esa Kalle Vihtori Åkerlund (born July 5, 1969) is a Finnish serial killer. Initially sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1995 murder of his ex-wife, he was paroled, only to commit a triple murder in 2010, for which he received 15 years.[1] In addition to this, he was acquitted of another in 1993, of which he still remains the prime suspect.[2]

Esa Åkerlund
Born
Esa Kalle Vihtori Åkerlund

(1969-07-05) July 5, 1969 (age 52)
Conviction(s)Murder x4
Attempted murder x2
Criminal penalty8.5 years, later acquitted (first murder)
Life imprisonment, commuted (second murder)
15 years (triple murder)
Details
Victims4–5
Span of crimes
1995–2010
(possibly 1993)
CountryFinland
State(s)Eastern Uusimaa, Uusimaa
Date apprehended
For the final time on July 6, 2010

MurdersEdit

First murder and acquittalEdit

In October 1993, Åkerlund was dining at 'The Manor', a restaurant in Askola, when an argument arose and a fight subsequently broke out.[3] During the scuffle, Åkerlund grabbed a knife and joined in. Employees tried to intervene, but were retaliated against, which resulted in the death of 28-year-old Veikko Nurmi, a waiter working in 'The Manor'.[3]

After authorities were called to inspect the crime scene, a man came forward carrying a bloodied knife, claiming that he had found it by the roadside. Blood exams confirmed that the blood on the knife belonged to Nurmi, and that the knife itself belonged to Esa Åkerlund.[3] When arrested for the crime, Åkerlund admitted that the weapon was indeed his, but denied committing the murder.[3]

Åkerlund would be brought to trial and convicted, despite the lack of witnesses and solid evidence.[3] He was sentenced to 8.5 years imprisonment, but he appealed his sentence an appellate court. Åkerlund was defended by renowned lawyer Heikki Salo, who convinced that the jury that there was insufficient evidence against his client, and as a result, Åkerlund was acquitted by the Orimattila District Court in October 1994.[3]

Murder of ex-wifeEdit

By September 1995, Åkerlund had been divorced with his wife, who had fled from him due to his abusive behavior.[2] Enraged that she had been handed over custody of their 2-year-old son, he tracked her down to her childhood home in Pernå, where he broke into during the middle of the night.[4] He crept into her bedroom, where he started beating her before opting to shoot her with his Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol. The shot was heard by the ex-wife's brother, who barged into the room and shot at Åkerlund, narrowly missing him.[2] In retaliation, Åkerlund shot once at him and his girlfriend, who was visiting at the time, wounding both non-fatally.[4]

Åkerlund was arrested shortly after the crime was committed and charged with the murder of his ex-wife, as well as the attempted murder of her brother and his girlfriend.[2] He claimed that he had done it in self-defense, but this claim was disregarded, and Åkerlund receiving a life sentence, which was upheld by the appellate court a year after his conviction.[2]

Porvoo triple murder and imprisonmentEdit

On December 1, 2009, following a decision by the Helsinki Appellate Court, Åkerlund's life sentence was commuted and he was released from prison with time served.[4]

On July 5, 2010, Åkerlund and a friend were partying and celebrating his birthday in Porvoo.[4] In the early morning of the next day, they decided that they'd get some food from McDonald's. Åkerlund drove to the drive-through of the restaurant, with another car occupied by three men in front of them.[5] For an unspecified reason, a dispute occurred between the two parties, prompting Åkerlund to pull out his revolver and shoot one of the passengers in the chest, killing him on the spot.[6] When the other two attempted to help their dying friend, Åkerlund shot them in the mouth and the head, respectively.[6] He and his friend then tried to flee the scene by going on the motorway bound for Helsinki, but were both apprehended only ten minutes later.[5]

While Åkerlund and his friend were in custody, police began investigating how a convicted murderer had obtained a firearm, determining that the 9mm S&W revolver had been sold to him illegally in May by two men.[7] In October 2010, Åkerlund was put on trial for the triple murder, and two years later, he was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.[1] The surveillance video which recorded the shootings at the restaurant was ordered to be sealed for 25 years at the request of family members.[6] Claiming that his sentence was unjustly long, Åkerlund appealed to the Appellate Court, which upheld the lower court's decision.[1]

Criticism of Finnish lawEdit

The verdict made headlines abroad, especially in the United States, garnering criticism against Finland's lax sentencing.[8] According to one article, commenters on a CNN article about the case mocked the Finnish justice system, its lacklustre gun control and some even claimed that needed to bring back the death penalty.[8]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Appeal from Porvoo drive-through shooter denied". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). March 23, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e "The suspicious record of the Porvoo killer". Iltalehti (in Finnish). July 7, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The life sentence was overturned". Iltalehti (in Finnish). September 7, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Did the suspect in the Porvoo killings celebrate his birthday?". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). August 7, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Porvoo shooting case". Eastern Uusimaa Police Department (in Finnish). July 8, 2010. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "The prosecutor is demanding 15 years in prison for Porvoo shooter". MTV Uutiset (in Finnish). October 25, 2010.
  7. ^ "The police are investigating background of Porvoo killer". Eastern Uusimaa Police Department (in Finnish). July 16, 2010. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "CNN readers were outraged by the length of lifers in Finland". MTV Uutiset (in Finnish). July 7, 2010.