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Sacramento DA / Media / Press Release Archives / 2016 Press Release Archives / 4.5.16: Defendant Convicted for 1st-Degree Murder of Victim Buried in His Backyard

Defendant Convicted for 1st-Degree Murder
of Victim Buried in His Backyard

DATE:  April 5, 2016

CASE:  William Olsem

PROSECUTOR:  Deputy District Attorney Thomas Asker, Homicide Unit

Forty-nine-year-old William Olsem was convicted by jury of first-degree murder.  The jury also found true that Olsem used a deadly weapon.

On May 1, 2013, a woman contacted law enforcement to report a murder she knew had been committed in 2012.  She also stated the body was buried near the backyard of the murderer, William Olsem. 

Follow up by law enforcement revealed the victim, Larry Lillard, had been reported missing a month earlier.  The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, with the help of the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Crime Lab, excavated the suspected grave in a field adjacent to Olsem’s property in Sacramento County.  Mr. Lillard’s body was found in the grave. He had been hog-tied with four ligatures around his neck.  The motive for the murder was Mr. Lillard’s $18,000 motor home and his monthly supplemental security income benefits, which was automatically deposited into Mr. Lillard’s bank account.  Olsem sold the motor home and used the bank card after the murder.

Olsem faces a maximum potential sentence of 26 years to life in prison.  Sentencing is set for May 20, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. in Department 19 before the Honorable Patrick Marlette.


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