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Judge rejects wrongful death lawsuit in O'Connell-Ellison murders

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news River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The parents of a man killed by a late priest in Hudson will not get anything from the Catholic Church.

A judge has rejected a wrongful death suit filed by Carsten and Sally Ellison of Barron.

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James Ellison, 22, and O'Connell, 39, were shot to death in 2002 at O'Connell's funeral home in Hudson.

A court later found that the Rev. Ryan Erickson killed both men because he was afraid O'Connell would tell his superiors about Erickson's passion for young boys, alcohol and firearms.

Ellison's parents said the Diocese of Superior should have known that Erickson would kill somebody, but Eau Claire County Circuit Judge Paul Lenz says it's too remote to assume the diocese would have had that belief.

Erickson was removed from a Hudson church and he moved to Ladysmith and then to Hurley, where he hanged himself in 2004. A hearing was held the next year, before the courts found Erickson responsible for the murders.

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