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Man Accused Of Fatally Stabbing Girlfriend, Then Attacking Parents At Restaurant The Same Day Pleads Guilty
Prosecutors agreed to a reduced charges of second-degree murder as part of a plea deal that will mean Benjamin Walsh will spent at least 25 years behind bars for killing 20-year-old Olivia Bergstrom in 2018.
A Massachusetts man who fatally stabbed his girlfriend and then went to a family birthday celebration and attacked both his parents has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Benjamin E. Walsh, 28, entered the plea in court on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Walsh stabbed his 20-year-old girlfriend Olivia Bergstrom in their Needham apartment more than a dozen times on Sept. 10, 2018 before attending a family birthday celebration at Primavera restaurant in Millis and allegedly stabbing both of his parents, Boston station WBTS reports.
Witnesses described a frenetic scene, saying that Walsh walked into the restaurant carrying a knife, began swearing and then stabbed his mother in the stomach as he screamed “I want to kill you! I’m going to kill everyone!” according to court documents obtained by WBZ.
He then allegedly plunged the knife into his father’s stomach, before he was subdued by other family members. Both his parents survived the brutal attack.
Initially Walsh had been facing first-degree murder charges in Bergstrom’s death, but prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge to second-degree murder as part of a plea deal after consulting with her family.
Walsh was sentenced to life in prison and will spent at least 25 years behind bars before he’s eligible for parole, authorities said.
According to prosecutors, the second-degree murder charge “ensures the safety of the community, avoids the challenges and stresses of a trial, acknowledges the defendant’s brutal acts and the twenty-five-year minimum sentence prior to the possibility of parole is significant and substantial.”
Prosecutors also consulted with Walsh’s family before making the deal.
“This brings its own finality to the proceeding,” District Attorney Michael W. Morrisey said. “The outcome of a trial is never assured, and appeals procedures in murder cases span many years. I cannot imagine the pain of Olivia’s parents, and my thoughts are very much with them today.”
The plea was entered the same day that jury selection had been slated to begin for the trial.
Investigators have not released a possible motive for the murder.
Walsh’s grandfather told WBTS shortly after the violence that Walsh was being treated for mental health issues at the time of the fatal stabbing and that Bergstrom and his parents had been trying to help him.
His grandfather described the violence to WBZ as “something terrible” and said Walsh had been checked out of a mental hospital just days before.
Police also believed that Walsh had been using drugs and alcohol the night of the murder, according to court documents.
After her death, Olivia’s grandfather, Paul Bergstrom, released a statement on behalf of the family describing the 20-year-old as a “smart, vibrant, beautiful young woman with a bright future ahead of her.”
“Olivia was a lover of animals who never met a horse she couldn’t win over,” he said, according to the news outlet. “She was passionate about living a healthy life. She had a dog named Scarlett. She loved her family fiercely. Our hearts are broken at the thought of Olivia not being in our lives, taken from us and her future in a way we cannot comprehend.”