October 04, 2005

The packin' priest

City Pages

There has been no shortage of speculation about the mysterious double slaying that occured at a Hudson funeral home nearly four years ago. Naturally, given the morbid aspects of the crime, much of it has been utter hooey. Remember the theory that the poor mortician and his assistant were victims of anti-embalming zealots? Or the one that attributed the killings to drug crazies who wanted to rob the funeral home of embalming fluids for the purpose of making "wet sticks?"

After yesterday's John Doe hearing in St. Croix County Courthouse, it appears that the murders were every bit as sordid as imagined; it's just the particulars that differ. The most credible evidence points to the conclusion that the late Rev. Ryan Erickson was the culprit.

Though I haven't read it yet, I expect Bruce Rubenstein's upcoming cover story for City Pages should make for a lurid and compelling read.

But there is one astounding detail that didn't surface until yesterday's hearing and, therefore, I am told, was only hinted at in the CP story: The Rev. Erickson evidently suffered from more than that garden variety affliction of the priesthood, a sexual weakness for minors; apparently, he was a major gun nut.

As noted in today's Strib piece, Erickson, who hanged himself as investigators closed in, was packing a virtual arsenal in his last rectory of residence, which was located in Hurley, Wisconsin. From the Strib: "Police also said they found 16 firearms belonging to Erickson at the rectory in Hurley. Eight of them were handguns, including two 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistols, the same type used in the murders."

Posted by kshaw at October 4, 2005 04:51 PM