(AP) - A jury convicted Michael Zabawa of murder in the Waseca farmhouse killings and a short time later he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
On Friday, Judge Joseph Bueltel in Rochester sentenced the 26-year-old Zabawa to life plus another 18 years for attempted murder.
Earlier in the day, a jury returned guilty verdicts on all 12 counts against him, including two counts of first-degree murder, in connection with the Feb. 3, 2007, shootings.
The Olmsted County District Court jurors announced their verdict Friday morning after getting the case about 5 p.m. Thursday. They deliberated about four hours before breaking for the night.
The courtroom was packed with relatives and supporters of the Kruger family as the jury foreman read the verdict. Zabawa's aunt and uncle were also there. They have attended the entire trial.
Zabawa did not take the stand in his own defense, but jurors saw a videotape of him initially telling investigators he wasn't in the house then saying that the shootings were accidental.
Zabawa said he went in to the house before dawn that day looking for help after getting his SUV stuck outside.
Zabawa said a man pulled a pump-action shotgun on him, and there was a struggle in the bedroom and a man and a woman were shot.
He said he dropped the gun as a child ran by, but he didn't know that child was hit because he was running out of the house.
Killed were Tracy Kruger, 40, and his 13-year-old son, Alec. Wife and mother Hilary Kruger was seriously injured and her left arm had to be amputated.
Among the evidence presented by the prosecution was testimony from a forensic scientist who tied Zabawa to the crime scene by saying that a a tiny speck of blood found on a shirt in Zabawa's bedroom came from Alec Kruger.
The trial was moved to Olmsted County due to pretrial publicity in Waseca.
Information from: Post-Bulletin, http://www.postbulletin.com
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)