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Don Nichols
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    (circa 1931- )
    Kidnapped biathlete Kari Swenson during a training run near Big Sky, Montana (July 15, 1984)
    Fatally shot Alan Goldstein, a member of a search party looking for Swenson
    Sentenced to 115 years in prison for murder, kidnapping and assault (September, 1985)
    Released on parole after serving slightly less than 32 years (August 23, 2017)
    He supplemented the meat he got from hunting game by poaching livestock.
    He abducted Swenson to be a bride for his son, Dan, and start a ‘tribe’ in the mountains.
    Swenson testified, ‘I endured being grabbed by both wrists, hit in the face, thrown to the ground, chained to Dan, threatened with knives and guns, marched through the woods, secured like an animal to trees, and spent a terrifying night chained next to Dan.’
    After Dan shot Swenson (allegedly by accident), they left her with a sucking chest wound, chained to a tree.
    They refused when Swenson asked them to at least leave her a sleeping bag for warmth.
    In a prison memoir, he claimed, ‘We treated her very humanely all the time, even cordially.’
    He also argued, ‘If Kari hadn’t been up at Ullery’s Lake, Goldstein wouldn’t have been killed by me.’
    He and Dan received oddly sympathetic media coverage, such as Barbara Walters saying in a ‘20/20’ report on their trial that their nonconformist lifestyle was ‘almost romantic.’
    He pointed out, ‘The chain involved was a real lightweight chain.’
    He had a clean prison record.
    He completed anger management and life skills courses while in prison.

Credit: C. Fishel

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