Despite “serious” mental illness, David Ohlson will spend ten years in prison for killing his mother

A Pensacola man who shot and killed his mother was sentenced Wednesday to just over a decade in prison.

David Allan Ohlson, 19, was initially charged with the second-degree murder of his mother, Adrianna Ohlson, after he shot her with a shotgun on April 8, 2022, in front of his father.

Despite Ohlson’s attorney telling a judge his client has a serious mental illness and needs medical attention outside of prison, Circuit Judge John Simon sentenced Ohlson to 124.5 months in the Florida Department of Corrections.

Following his conviction, Ohlson will serve two years of community probation followed by 15 years of probation, according to assistant state attorney Trey Myers.

Although attorney Sharon Wilson intended to rely on the insanity defense for her client, Ohlson ended up signing a plea deal on May 17, 2023, stating that she would not contest one count of manslaughter with a firearm rather than face the murder charge.

Prayer for madness: The Pensacola teenager will declare insanity for the death of his mother. He is the third local son to do so in 9 years.

Ohlson’s appeal: Pensacola Teen Accused of Mother’s 2022 Murder Pleads Not Guilty to Manslaughter

What happened during David Ohlson’s hearing?

The key issue in Ohlson’s case boiled down to his mental health and whether he met the criteria to be declared legally insane.

Pensacola psychologist Dr. Stephen Zieman testified that he did not think Ohlson met the legal standard of being pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity despite saying Ohlson had “the most severe case of (obsessive-compulsive disorder) he had ever encountered “.

“Do you have an opinion that this incident would have occurred if David hadn’t been mentally ill?” Wilson asked Zieman.

“I think mental illness directly contributed to his actions,” Zieman replied.

David Allan Ohlson arrives in Circuit Judge John Simon's courtroom on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, for sentencing for his mother's 2022 death.

David Allan Ohlson arrives in Circuit Judge John Simon’s courtroom on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, for sentencing for his mother’s 2022 death.

According to Zieman, Ohlson has struggled with severe OCD that had also caused attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety disorder since she was born. This mix of illnesses caused Ohlson to struggle to lead a normal life, even causing what Zieman called “intrusive thoughts.”

Wilson argued to Simon that Ohlson was never able to lead a “normal life”, much less a “life of success”.

“Just because he doesn’t suffer from the legal definition of insanity doesn’t mean he’s okay, doesn’t mean he’s normal,” Wilson told Simon.

Because Zieman said his assessment does not show Ohlson meets the criteria for legal insanity, Myers told the judge that Ohlson’s mental condition is no excuse for killing his mother.

“This is a tragic case. It was a killing that was unnecessary,” Myers told the court. “It was not excusable and certainly not excusable.

“Judge, the state recognizes his mental condition, and as such we have made an appeal offer that reflects that,” he added. “While this is a tragic event and the defendant may be an understanding person…his mental deficiencies are no excuse for this crime. As such, he deserves to be punished for this crime with a sentence of no less than 20 years in state prison.”

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During the hearing, Ohlson was given a chance to speak. Looking at Simon, he apologized for the incident and said he agrees that he needs some mental help.

“Your Honor, I’d like to say what happened that night, I’m very sorry about what happened. It’s my fault it all happened,” Ohlson told the judge. “I’m very open to getting help, mental help. I know I need it. I’ve always known I need it and I really feel like I need mental help.”

David Aaron Ohlson holds back tears on Wednesday June 28, 2023, as he recalls the night his wife was shot and killed by their son David Allan Ohlson in 2022.

David Aaron Ohlson holds back tears on Wednesday June 28, 2023, as he recalls the night his wife was shot and killed by their son David Allan Ohlson in 2022.

Why did David Ohlson shoot his mother?

According to Ohlson’s testimony after the shooting, it was triggered by her parents’ announcement of their divorce just three weeks earlier.

The stress and confusion of her parents’ divorce mixed with Ohlson’s mental illness led to her state of mind on April 8, 2022, she said.

Ohlson’s father, David Aaron Ohlson, took the witness stand and said “his pain transferred to my son.” He also took the time to explain to the court what his life was like and how he and his wife did their best to help young Ohlson as a child.

The father then turned to Simon and spoke on behalf of his son.

“He’s my only son. Neither of us really had a life,” Elder Ohlson said as he struggled to speak through tears and a shaking voice. “(Adrianna) tried so hard. He’s a good guy, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my son.

“I love my family. I’ve never had one. It was the first time I had a family,” she continued. “I love my son and am proud of him. I always wanted him to love himself and be proud of himself.”

This article originally appeared in the Pensacola News Journal: David Ohlson killed his mother Adrianna, he will spend 10 years in prison

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