May 28, 1998 - No Retrial of Christer Pettersson

On May 28, 1998, the Swedish Supreme Court turned down a motion to retry the man once convicted of killing Prime Minister Olof Palme.

Prosecutors had sought a new trial for Christer Pettersson, whose conviction in the 1986 killing was later overturned for lack of evidence.

Palme was gunned down on a downtown Stockholm street on February 28, 1986, as he walked home from the movies with his wife Lisbeth. Irregularities in Lisbeth Palme’s identification of Pettersson in a police line-up was one of the main reasons the conviction was reversed.

The prosecutors based their new case on new evidence, including new accounts from four witnesses who have come forward in recent years, claiming to have seen Christer Pettersson near the scene of the crime just before or just after Palme was killed. There are also controversial accounts from two of Pettersson’s friends, now dead. One was a convicted bomber who had declared war on society, who allegedly urged Pettersson to kill the Prime Minister, poviding the motive that was missing in the original trial. The other, a night club owner and weapons dealer, claimed to have provided Pettersson with a gun similiar to that which killed Palme.

Police divers have searched in vain in Stockholm waters this Spring, looking for the murder weapon.

The written decision by the panel of five judges reads:

”The Supreme Court believes the new evidence is not of such nature that a new trial can be granted in the case.”

Spokesmen for the police and prosecutors say the investigation into the Palme murder will continue.