Parents Of Priest Doubt He Killed Two In Hudson Funeral Home

The parents of a priest who killed himself last December say they still don't believe he killed a funeral home director and his intern in Hudson more than three years ago, as a judge has concluded.

After a day of testimony Monday, the judge found there is probable cause to believe the Reverend Ryan Erickson killed the two. According to the St. Croix County prosecutor, evidence suggests funeral home director Dan O'Connell found out the priest was sexually abusing someone or providing alcohol to minors, leading to the fatal confrontation.

But the attorney for Dennis and Mary Erickson of Minocqua says they don't believe their son was responsible. Lawyer Buck Schilling says there is a very low standard to prove probable cause -- much lower than for a finding of guilt. He says the family doesn't believe Erickson would ever be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt if he were still alive and went on trial.

But the mother of slain intern James Ellison of Barron says she has had no doubts about Erickson's involvement from the time he killed himself last December.

Asked how she could accept that a priest was involved, Sally Ellison replied -- quote -- "Only God is without sin. He is not God. He is a human being."