NEEDHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - A Needham man was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars after he pleaded guilty to the 2018 murder of his girlfriend.
Benjamin E. Walsh, now 28, pled guilty Monday to the second-degree murder of 20-year-old Olivia Bergstrom in their Needham home then driving to a restaurant in Millis where he attacked his parents with a knife.
At the time, police said Walsh’s mother, Laura, suffered stab wounds to the abdomen and his father, Michael, suffered lacerations to his right hand. Witnesses told police that Walsh made his way through the restaurant’s function room holding a large knife and screaming profanities.
Soon after, police said they conducted a welfare check at his multi-family home in Needham, where he and Bergstrom reportedly lived together. Officials said Walsh stabbed Bergstrom to death before driving to Millis.
“The Commonwealth has agreed to reduce the first degree murder charge to second degree murder with the support of the victim’s parents because the plea to second degree murder ensures the safety of the community, avoids the challenges and stresses of a trial, acknowledges the defendant’s brutal acts and the twenty-five year minimum sentence prior to the possibility of parole is significant and substantial,” Judge Beverly Cannone wrote in a statement.
Bergstrom’s surviving family and Walsh’s parents were consulted before the decision was made to lower the charge.
“This brings its own finality to the proceeding,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “The outcome of a trial is never assured, and appeals procedures in murder cases span many years. I cannot imagine the pain of Olivia’s parents, and my thoughts are very much with them today.”
Walsh will have the opportunity to seek parole after 25 years.
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