Andersen now claims he was framed
Two days after a Becker County jury convicted him of killing his best friend, Ken Andersen said he may have been framed.
A rocky relationship with local law enforcement and his acquittal on a 2005 arson charge may have factored into his arrest and conviction of first-degree murder for Chad Swedberg's death, Andersen said Friday.
"If you put two and two together, how does a person not run into that conclusion?" he said during a telephone interview with The Forum from his Minnesota jail cell.
Becker County prosecutor Michael Fritz said Andersen is "desperate" and can appeal his conviction if he so desires.
Andersen takes issue with several pieces of evidence presented at his murder trial and said he thinks law enforcement may have planted a gun on his property.
The gun is believed to be the murder weapon.
Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon called the 34-year-old rural Waubun, Minn., man's allegations ludicrous and impossible. About 20 officers from four different agencies were on scene when the gun was found, Gordon said.
"I don't believe that could have even occurred, or it would have been a huge conspiracy to try and keep quiet with that many officers and agencies," Gordon said.
Authorities found the rifle covered by insulation in the ceiling of an outbuilding on Andersen's property. How it got onto his Waubun, Minn., property is unclear, Andersen said.
"I have not a clue and that's what I'm pulling my hair out over," he said.
A firearms expert testified during Andersen's trial that marks found on bullets taken from Swedberg's body were consistent with bullets test fired from the gun seized.
The expert also said several other weapons could have made the same markings, which Andersen said calls into question whether it was the murder weapon.
Swedberg's brother, Rod, disagrees, saying Andersen is "grabbing for straws."
"The state obviously had enough of a match to bring him to trial," said Rod Swedberg, Fargo.
Mike Ladue, a friend of both Andersen and Chad Swedberg, said he disagrees with Rod Swedberg's assessment, saying the state's case contained major issues.
"Even if Kenny Andersen did kill him, they (didn't) have the evidence to convict him," Ladue said.
Andersen said he disagrees with some portrayals during the trial that he and Swedberg were fighting over a stolen ATV or a business relationship, saying such implications hurt him.
"Me and Chad never ever got into an argument in our lives," he said. "All I was to him was his best friend. He was the godparent to my daughter. I chose him over my own brother."
Andersen said he plans to appeal his murder conviction. Sentencing is set for June 12.