Finland's Helsingin Sanomat has issued the following report:
In a verdict announced on Friday morning (Oct. 7), Espoo District Court found bus driver Nils Gustafsson not guilty of murder in the infamous Bodom Lake killings (a crime which gave CHILDREN OF BODOM the inspiration for their name — Ed.) of 1960.
The court found that there was insufficient evidence to convict the 63-year-old Gustafsson of killing three of his friends during a camping trip at Bodom Lake. Throughout the trial, Gustafsson maintained his innocence, saying that he and the other three were victims of an unknown assailant.
In its decision, the court emphasised the principle of the presumption of innocence in cases in which there is any doubt of the guilt of the accused. The court also found that Gustafsson's claim of a memory blackout concerning the events was quite plausible.
Furthermore, the court felt that the long time that has passed since the crime took place makes it more difficult to get a reliable picture of events. In its decision, the court also noted that the prosecution was unable to establish a motive.
Following the decision, Nils Gustafsson told his defence lawyer Riitta Leppiniemi that he was relieved and very happy. Gustafsson was not present when the verdict was announced; he heard the news at this home in Espoo.
Prosecutor Tom Idström had little to say on the matter. He has not yet decided if he would appeal the decision.
Heikki Lampela, the lawyer representing the families of the victims of the killings, said that he was not surprised at the verdict.
He said that the family members had hoped for a different outcome. Now he plans to study the decision to see if the lower court had made any mistakes, which might constitute grounds for appeal.