Thursday, January 30, 2020

Sharon Dahl, 16-Year-Old Double Murderess – Nebraska, 1961


FULL TEXT: With little show of remorse a 16 year old girl admitted Friday night she killed her mother and father with a double-barreled shotgun, because they objected to her dating.

Cedar County Attorney Max Goetz said the girl, Sharon Dahl, signed a statement describing how she stole downstairs at daybreak Friday, found her parents asleep and shot each in the head.

The attorney said he would file charges against the girl Saturday.

Sharon, a Coleridge. Neb., high school sophomore, had been brought to State Safety Patrol headquarters for questioning a few hours after the bodies of her parents, 45-year-old Victor Dahl and his 34-year-old wife, Rosa, were found in their blood-soaked bed.

The girl was given a lie detector test and afterward Goetz and Cedar County Sheriff John H. Riibe took a statement from her. Newsmen at the patrol headquarters could hear her sobbing during the questioning.

Sharon is oldest of 7 Dahl children. A brother, Lester, 12, also was brought to Safety Patrol headquarters.

~ Under Davenport ~

Officers also brought to Lincoln the shotgun which they said was found beneath a davenport in the Dahl farm home near Coleridge.

Goetz said the girl told them she killed her parents because they objected to her activities and taking privileges away from her.

She said this had been going on for two years and for a week she had been considering taking their lives.

The county attorney said the girl did not show normal remorse.

~ Describes Slayings ~

Goetz said the girl have this description of the slayings:

She came down stairs about 6:15 a. m. Friday, found both parents asleep. She loaded both barrels of her father’s shotgun, shot her father and then her mother.

About 15 minutes later she called her grandparents and told them something had happened to her parents and told them to come to the Dahl farmhouse.

Later she called a neighbor. The sheriff and county attorney arrived about 7 a. m.

Goetz said after the girl arrived in Lincoln with the officers Friday she freely admitted the shooting.

He said the girl might be given a psychological examination.

Sharon was taken back to Cedar County Friday night to be lodged in jail in Hartington.

Goetz said she would be the only prisoner in the Hartington County jail.

The Dahl’s survivors, in addition to Sharon and Lester, include 5 other children: Doris, 10; Vickie, 9; David, 8; Donna, 5; and Gene, 2.

Mr. Dahl is also survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Dahl of Laurel; a brother, Darrell of Laurel; and a sister, Mrs. Wayne Lund, also of Laurel.

Mrs. Dahl’s survivors include her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Madsen of Laurel; sisters, Mrs. Burnell Grosc of Wakefield, Mrs. Sam Young of Chambers and Mrs. Pete Nielsen of Worland, Wyo.; brothers, Martin and Jens, both of Worland, and Verner and Fred, both of Laurel.

[“Girl Admits Killing Sleeping Parents . . . Teenager Confesses After Lie Test,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), May 20, 1961, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Coleridge – A tractor sits motionless in a greening farmyard

A tractor sits motionless in a greening farmyard 5 miles northeast of here. " It was to have been used Friday in planting corn from sunup to sundown.

But it had no driver!

The machine's master Victor Dahl and his wife Rose, were shot to death early Friday.

"Vic planned to spend all Friday in the field planting. He had hoped to make up for the time he had lost because of rain," related the dead man's brother - in - law, Wayne Lund of nearby Laureh

~ Attended Party ~

Standing on the back porch of the Dahl home. Lund said that he saw the entire Dahl family Thursday night.

"We had them (the Dahls) over for a special party in honor of my son, Jim, who had just graduated from Laurel High School.

"Vic and the family all seemed happy. I just don't know, Lund added.

In fact, Lund said "Vic seemed anxious to get into the fields on Friday." The Dahls are well - known in Coleridge and described by locals as "upstanding neighbors.

Two high school classmates of Sharon Dahl describe her as "always laughing and never too serious." Both are girls and neither claim to know Sharon too well.

"She was very nice to be around and I've never seen her lose her temper," said another classmate, this one a boy.

Sharon is a sophomore at Coleridge High School.

Among the town's older citizens, Sharon is known just as "Vic's oldest kid."

One farmer, who said that he has known the Dahls for 15 years, disclosed that "all of the Dahl kids were well mannered.”

A businessman remembers Sharon as always having a little brother or sister at hand. "She always impressed me as being a real mother's helper."

Other Dahl children and ages are:

Lester, 12; Dora, 10; Vicki, 8; David, 7; Donna, 5; and Gene, 17 months.

All but Sharon and little Gene attended the country school less than a half mile south of the Dahl farm.

~ 2 Years ~

The Dahls have resided at the white frame farmhouse for not quite two years, according to Lund.

Before, they farmed south of Coleridge.

Their present dwelling, sheltered by a heavy clump of elms, is located off the road (about 30 yards. It appears to be wearing a fresh coat of paint.

East of the house are a barn and tool shed, both tomato in color.

The yard is rich in green with young pullets circling the grounds.

[Gene Budig, “Silent Tractor is Death Symbol,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), May 20, 1961, p. 20]

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FULL TEXT: Laurel – Mourners overflowed the United Lutheran Church Monday afternoon when funeral services were held for Mr. and Mrs. Victor Dahl, slain last Friday by their 16-year-old daughter Sharon.

Sharon, who used a shotgun to kill her parents as they slept, declined to attend the services. All of the other six children did attend.

The Laurel American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post also held military rites for Dahl, 45, holder of the Silver Star for his service in Europe during World War II.

Sharon, held in the Cedar County jail at Hartington, told Sheriff John Riibe she did not want to attend the funeral.

She is charged with first degree murder.

The high school sophomore signed a statement late Friday saying she killed her parents because they objected to her dating and wanted her to baby-sit with the six younger children when they went out.

[“Sharon Dahl Stays Away From Funeral,” Fremont Guide and Tribune (Ne.), May 23, 1961, p. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Hartington – Sharon Dahl, 16-year-old sophomore, was bound over to District Court Monday to be tried on first degree murder charges for the slaying of her parents while they slept May 19.

The attractive blonde girl appeared composed. She waived the reading of the complaint and stood mute. She did not utter a word during the 20-minute hearing before County Judge Edward Husse.

She appeared without an attorney, by Clarence Haley of Hartington, consented to act for her at Monday’s hearing only.

~ Sheriff Testifies ~

The only evidence taken was the testimony of Sheriff John Riibe, who had been called the farm home the morning of May 19. Following his testimony Judge Hesse found that Mr. and Mrs. Victor Dahl were victims of homicide and there was “reasonable and probable cause” to believe that Sharon committed the acts.

The slaying of Mr. and Mrs. Dahl were discovered early May 19 when Sharon called relatives to report something was wrong.

At first she said she had discovered the deaths when they failed to awaken when the alarm rang. But Goetz said that night at Safety Patrol headquarters in Lincoln she admitted she had slipped downstairs about daybreak, loaded both barrels of her father’s 16 gauge shotgun and shot both parents in the head while they slept.

Goetz said Sharon complained that her parents restricted her dating and made her baby-sit while they went out.

Sharon is the oldest of 7 children orphaned by the death of the Dahls.

~ Name Not Changed ~

(Although Sharon’s last name is listed as Madsen on her birth certificate, on file with the Nebraska Department of Vital Statistics, the name on the complaint has not been changed and remains as Dahl, according to Cedar county Attorney Max Gates, Madsen is Mrs. Dahl’s maiden name.)

[Sharon Mute During Her Arraignment,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), May 30, 1961, p. 13]

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FULL TEXT: Hartington – Cedar County Attorney Max Goetz reduced charges against Sharon Dahl from first degree murder and the 16-year-old girl entered a plea of guilty.

She has admitted she killed her parents with a shotgun as they slept May 19 in the family farm house near Coleridge.

Sharon stood mute earlier this year when she appeared in court on the first degree charges.

District Judge John Newton heard testimony from several persons after Goetz reduced the charges in an amended information.

Sharon, a pretty high school sophomore, signed a statement saying she shot her mother and father because they objected to her dating and wanted her to babysit for 6 younger brothers and sisters while the parents went out.

Sharon, held since she admitted the shootings, was returned to the county jail to await sentencing. Judge Newton did not set a date for sentencing.

Witnesses at the hearing including Sheriff John Riibe; Mr. and Mrs. Chis Dahl and Mr. and Mrs. Chris Madsen, Sharon’s grandparents; Vernere Madsen, a brother if the slain woman, and Carrell Dahl, brother of Victor Dahl.

[“Sharon Dahl, 16, Enters Plea Of Guilty; Charles Reduced,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), Sep. 27, 1961, p. 24]

***

FULL TEXT: Hartington, Neb. – Sharon Dahl, 16-year-old Coleridge, Neb., farm girl, was sentenced to 30 years in the Nebraska Women’s Reformatory for the shotgun slaying of her parents last May 19.

She pleaded guilty Sept. 25 after the charges were reduced from first to second degree murder.

The parents, Victor Dahl, 45, and Rosa, 34, were shot, the girl said, because they objected to her dating and wanted her to baby-sit with 6 younger brothers and sisters while they went out.

[“30 Years," Des Moines Tribune (Io.), Oct. 6, 1961, p. 15]

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