Death sentence for Kirkland family's killer


by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News and Staff

Posted on May 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Updated Thursday, May 6 at 11:06 AM

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SEATTLE - Conner Schierman, convicted of brutally murdering two women and two children, will be put to death.

The jury's decision, read Tuesday afternoon by Judge Gregory Canova, was met by silence in the courtroom.

The 28-year-old was convicted April 12 of killing his neighbors Olga Milkin, 28; her sons Justin, 5; and Andrew, 3; and Olga's sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, in their home in July 2006.

Schierman showed showed little emotion as he left the courtroom, almost seeming resigned to his fate.

A nearly four year ordeal finally is over for the families of his victims.

"I'm very relieved. Justice has been done," said Olga's husband, Leonid.

"I don't have any tears anymore," Lyubov Botvina, Olga and Lyubov's mother. "But today, when I heard this verdict, I started crying."

Defense attorney James Conroy argued that Schierman was in an alcohol-induced blackout, that someone else carried out the killings, and that Schierman set fire to the home because he thought no one would believe his story. Conroy plans to appeal the conviction.

"I don't know that anybody will ever know what happened," Conroy said.

Although Schierman never testified at his trial, he took the stand Monday to beg the jury to spare his life.

"I have been told by people that I am going to hell. I am already there," he said.

Schierman did not acknowledge the killings.

"The least he could do is apologize," said Olga's sister, Vita Petrus. "After what he has done, he could have said I am sorry."

The Milkin family, devout Christians, said they forgive Schierman for the murders, but still believe he should die for his crimes.

Through it all, the family still has no idea why Schierman killed their loves ones. With this death penalty verdict, there is still no answer, only emptiness.

"Every day for the rest of my life I will think about them and miss them," said Leonid.