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The Orderud Triple Homicide

Larry is a true crime fan and has several years of experience reporting on true crime cases and hosts a true-crime podcast.

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Setting The Scene

This case takes place in Norway in 1999, and it involves the Orderud family. This story dives into the complications of family relations, inheritance, revenge, and sibling rivalry. It all becomes enough motive for this family.

We have the Orderud family, which started with the father and mother, Christian and Marie. Christian was born in 1918 and he met Marie, who was born in 1915. They got married and this started their family together. Marie became pregnant and on April 3, 1952, they welcomed Anne into the family, their eldest and only daughter. Two years later, the family welcomed another child, this time a boy, and his name is Per.

The father ran a family farm for a living, where the family also lived. The farm would later be known as the Orderud family farm. The farm is located about 80 miles from Oslo, Norway. The farm had a main house, a secondary house, and a barn on it. The secondary house was a fairly good sized home. It had a balcony on the second floor and was white all the way around it. The back of the house went up to the edge of the woods. The main residence and barn were only 656 feet apart.

Up on the hill lays the second residence. So Anne and Per were raised on the farm until adulthood. By all accounts, this farm was just their way of life. They grew up there, and they both worked on the farm. It was just what their film did. But Per and Anne saw different futures for themselves. Although Anne was the eldest and loved the farm, she didn't see it as her future, she wanted more. She wanted to leave and discover herself and make a life of her own so Anne would eventually leave and meet and marry a man named Per, not her brother.

She just happened to fall in love and marry a man with the same name as her brother. So Anne and Per lived in Oslo, the capital of Norway. They were a successful vibrant couple who both worked in service for their country. She worked at Norway's Ministry of Defense, where she was the personal secretary for the Norwegian Defense Minister. Per her husband worked at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a prominent high-level diplomat.

While Anne had achieved her dreams, her brother Per's lifelong dream was to eventually take over the family farm, he had no desire to leave like Anne did. He had worked on it since he was little and had made it known to his parents, that this was his plan all along. Christian, his father retired when Per turned 30.

This was in 1984, Per had already been working on the farm with his father, but now that his father was retired, he would be given more responsibility. Christian would still own the family farm, but again the plan was one day for Per to buy it from him. When Christian retired, he and Marie, his wife, decided to move from the main house, to the secondary home.

This allowed Per, their sone to move into the main house on his own and run the farm from there. Because it's right across from the barn. It's next to everything that he would need. About 10 years later, when Per Orderud was 40, he met and married a woman named Veronica who was only 21.

Veronica was born in 1972, so she was about 18 years younger than Pear, but they got married and Per and Veronica are living on the family farm in the main house, and his parents are living in the secondary residence. Anne is married and off living her own life, but still in contact with her family. It was around this time that strange things begin happening to Anne and her husband Per.

Per and Anne Become Targets

On March 3rd, 1997 at about 1:30 a.m., after an evening out with friends, Anne and Per, her husband were assaulted by a random man on the sidewalk. The man threw Per down and started kicking him. The man began hitting Anne too. This man eventually stops walks away, leaving both Per and Anne injured but alive. The strange man didn't steal anything, just attacked them.

Then on July 15th or 17th, sources differ on the date. Anne discovers a suspicious looking device taped to the underside of her car. One report says the car involved was her ministry of defense car. Anne drove to work with the strange-looking tube still attached underneath her car. She left the car parked outside the Ministry of Defense building in Oslo. She's isn't sure what the object is and so she eventually goes to the Oslo police about it later that day.

The police determined the object strapped to the underside of Anne's car is dynamite. It turns out to be more than half a kilo of explosives. Less than a month later on August 12th, 1998 another unsuccessful assassination attempt occurs, this time at their Oslo apartment.

Per wakes up in the middle of the night, smells gas inside the apartment. He also hears some kind of hissing noise coming right outside the front door, so he opens the front door and find someone has left a five kilo tank of gas outside their door with the vent open. The tubing from the tank was put inside or right next to a crack in the front of the building, to allow the gas to leak.

Police also found a trail of gasoline that had been poured down the street leading to the front door. This could have obviously caused a major explosion but apparently no one had actually lit the whole contraption on fire. So for this to actually explode there needed to be fire but no one had lit it.

There is a lot of publicity around these events, but no one is arrested in connected with anyone of the assassination attempts. Given these attempts, Per and Anne are taken to a secure location at a military camp.

On September 3rd, 1998, Per and Anne, afraid for their lives, decide to take the opportunity to go to New York and get away from the danger they are facing at home. So they stay in New York for four months, during which Per serves as a consul general in New York. In January 1999, Per and Anne decide to return home to Oslo.

They come home, feel like things have been safe. It's been four months, so they decide that they no longer need police protection. Hopefully whatever was going on is done, now that they've left and come back. But despite their near misses with death, it doesn't stop knocking on their door.

Scroll to Continue

On May 6, 1999 Anne's husband Per dies after a short-lived illness. He had very recently been diagnosed with cancer and it took his life. There's some speculation that maybe his death was somehow still done by someone else who wanted him dead. Maybe he was exposed to some sort of toxin or poison that game him cancer and caused his death. That's never been proven.

By May 15th, 1999, nine days after Per's death, a man calls 180, which is Norway's version of 9-1-1 and makes threats saying that Anne and her parents are going to be murdered. The operator alerts law enforcement to the threatening call, but they are unable to figure out who made the calls.

May 22, 1999 - The Crime

On May 22nd, 1999, a grieving and upset Anne is at the family farm, visiting her parents for the weekend, as her husband just died of cancer. She's grieving and she wants to be with family. She doesn't want to be alone. She drives the car there and leaves it parked outside the secondary house, where she's staying with her parents. She stays in a bedroom in the basement for the night.

On May 23, 1999 Christian's brother Hans, goes to the farm to visit family but nobody answers the front door of his brother's house. Hans walks up the hill, goes around to the back of the house and it's there that he sees the first warning sign that things are not okay at the family farm. He sees broken glass in the back. The broken glass is for a door on the second floor terrace or a balcony of the home.

The uncle Hans then goes into the house to investigate after noticing that this door has broken glass. He discovers three dead bodies. The bodies of his loved ones all shot at close range: 81-year-old Christian, 84-year-old Mary, and 47-year-old Anne.

From this point you know something is off. Where's the brother? All these bodies are found upstairs. Anne was lying in her nightgown on the kitchen floor, Marie was on the floor in the living room also in her nightgown and Christian was shot while still in bed.

Hans calls the police who arrive on the scene and begin investigating the triple murder. It's immediately clear to the police that the murderer went in through the smashed back door. Police determined that Christian and Marie had been sleeping in the primary bedroom, which was on the second floor.

Christian was shot twice first with a 38 and then with a 22, this made police suspicious now that there was more than one intruder. Because why are there two different guns used during the attack. Christian may have tried to get a shotgun he kept in the primary bedroom closet to defend them, but he was killed before he was able to do so. Marie was shot in the chest with the 38, she tried to run away out of the bedroom, she made it to the living room but was then shot again with the 38.

Anne was staying on the lower level, so she must have run upstairs when she heard the terrible shots coming from above and was found upstairs lying on the floor in the kitchen by the kitchen door, which led outside, so maybe she was trying to get out of the house. She too was shot by a 38. The police found multiple spent shell casings in the house from two different guns. They also found that the killer or at least one of them had left a partial shoe print on the broken glass of the door. Clearly the killer had kicked in the door.

Outside the house, the police find a yellow or orange woolly handknit sock. The police's theory is that the murderers wore socks over their shoes in order to avoid leaving shoe prints at the scene. The police believe that the sock they found could have been coming off the murderer's foot, before the murderer went inside given that the partial shoe print was found on the glass.

I personally think it seems more likely that the scok fell off afterward, as the murderer was fleeing the scene and that's where the shoe print comes from.

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The Investigation Continues

From almost the beginning of the investigation, the police believe that the victims knew their murderer or murderers. Nothing was known to have been taken from the house, which ruled out robbery as the motive. Given the previous assassination attempts, police believed that Anne was probably the intended target. Because before this the parents were never involved. Now that she's at the home, her parents are murdered.

Police further believe that only someone who knew the family, would have known that Anne was visiting her parents that weekend. The first person police interview, is the only remaining member of the Orderud family, who also happened to be sleeping only 200 meters away the night of the murder, because he was living in the main house.

However, Per and Veronica claim to have heard nothing. They say they didn't realize anything had happened until the police arrived to question them that morning. I imagine that the police perhpaps think it's odd that Per and Veronica hadn't heard the 12 or more gunshots that happened in the middle of the night. It's also possible more shots were fired because the number of shell casings they found was more than 12.

For a variety of reasons, Per and Veronica became suspects early on. Apparently a neighbor who rented property on the farm told police that their cars were gone that night, and so were the dogs. This all leaves the question of why would Per be so desperate to kill not only his sister but his parents as well.

What does that make for the earlier attempts on just Anne's life. Why if he just wanted to kill Anne, would he then drag his parents into it later. As the police dig into a motive, they discover details about the Orderud family life, which made it seem like it wasn't just a happy-go-lucky farm and family.

After all maybe there was a lot more than meets the surface. Police learn Anne had never wanted to stay around working on the farm, and instead pursued her life and government career in Oslo. Unlike his sister though, Per's life seemed to revolve around the family farm.


Police Look Closer at Per

He was the one who began working full time at the farm and ultimately took over running the farm. The deal between Per and his parents apparently was that Per would buy the farm from his parents someday that was what they'd promised. Once they retired, he would take over all responsibility and then once his parents were close to dying he would buy the farm from them.

I think the purpose behind making him buy it even at such a late age was a learning purpose. Like it seems like it was important to Kristian, that Per worked for his life, that it wasn't just handed to him. This seemed he had noted that this was important for him as a father to teach his children.

As the police later learn that at some point, Kristian came across some tax returns after he had retired. These tax returns were from the farm that he still owned. Per was just running it at the time, but Kristian discovered that his son put himself down as the owner of the farm on these returns. This bothered him, that his son had lied. He was jumping the gun on the process that Kristian had perfect set out.

Kristian hired a lawyer and increased the price that Per and him had agreed upon that Per would have to pay for the family farm.

So police also learned that because Anne was the older sister, she was the first in line to inherit the farm if something were to happen to the parents. Apparently, Kristian was also upset with Per because the farm wasn't doing well. He kind of ran it into the ground a bit. Per had also taken out a loan on the farm and this could jeopardize the farm's financial future again, screwing over not just him but his sister as well.

Kristian and Per have a big fight over the financial ins and outs of the farm. He goes to him and confronts him about the whole thing. Per's like well it's mine, I deserve it. He's like no that's not how this works, she's going to inherit the farm and all of this stuff. So they actually stopped talking to each other for a year because of this.

Per ended up suing his dad, taking him to court over the price of the farm. He said we had this agreed upon amount it's written, and you're now trying to change it. The court found that Kristian had signed a contract and agreed on a price of the farm and now are saying, you can't just later increase the price.

Kristian however, appeals the decision because the court sides with Per. He says I've never signed any papers, it was just a talk. I don't even know what these papers are that you're producing. I never signed none. So the case gets reversed because the court found that Per had forged his own father's signature on these papers. And i think this just further shows Kristian that everything he was trying to teach his son was not working because Per was just doing whatever he could to to get what he wanted.

So police realize all of this fully gives Per motive to kill his family not just Anne because she's the inheritance but also his parents. So the police believe that Per wanted all of the inheritance to himself and had been talking about if the parents died, she was going to just divide the farm into smaller pieces and sell the pieces off to developers because it was kind of already failing at this point. She was like the best would be for me to just divide it all and sell it so Per wanted to keep the farm property intact and believed the farm rightfully belonged to him. His parents were elderly and not in good health so if he couldn't buy it in time and stood in the way since she was the older sibling and was the first in line to inherit the farm.

This also makes more sense about why Anne was the intended target in the first place and not the parents. Because if he kills Anne, then he just has to wait for his parents to die and he gets the farm, but Per did not carry this out alone.

Per Didn't Act Alone

Police suspect that Per's wife Veronica may be involved and that she was in on it, just for the money for money sake. Apparently an ex-boyfriend of hers says that she only dated him for money and points out that she's 18 years younger than Per and probably figure this whole time that he was going to get the farm and get the inheritance.

While police are piecing all of this together, 10 days after the murder, they were called to some woods where there were reports of gunshots. It turns out there was a woman out there named Kristin Kirkemo, taking target practice out in the woods.

Kristen is Veronica Per's wife's half sister, so she's tied into this murder that just happened 10 days ago. So the police quickly decide to interrogate her. During the course of the interview, the police become suspicious of her as they're interviewing, they're like okay, something is going on.

Police get a search warrant to search the house that Kristen lives in with her boyfriend Lars. The police find evidence of criminal behavior. During the search they find drugs a lot of them they find guns, they find explosives, one of the guns police discovered during the search of Kristin and Lars home is a 22 caliber gun.

Police test the 22, but determine it's not one of the murder weapons. However, the bullets in this 22 gun were exactly the same type of bullets that had been used by the .22 murder weapon. So it might not be the same weapon, but it's the same type of bullets. Now that police see what's going on, they keep digging for more and end up questioning Lars. Their murder case now includes four suspects.

Kristin started to turn on Lars. She says that he owns a 38 gun that he calls small boy, which is no longer around. So she tells police that she and Lars provided guns to Per and Veronica and that they helped them plan the murders but they didn't commit the actual murders, they just provided them the guns and planned. Lars admits okay yeah we did provide Per and Veronica with guns but he denies knowing anything about them using those guns for a murder plot.

So lars claims he was at home at the time of the murders no one could substantiate this. Kristin didn't have an alibi but she then said that she spent the night making deliveries of some kind with a friend, the GPS on her phone actually did substantiate this. At first this male friend didn't back up Kristin's alibi but then said it was true and that they were making deliveries together. So it's kind of just a bunch of like back and forth lies. Apparently this man's girlfriend comes into police and is like no he's lying she tears apart Kristin's alibi and says it wasn't true that her boyfriend just had Kristin's phone that night.

So she gave a random guy her phone and said can you carry this around for me tonight while you go make your drug deliveries, so trying to make an alibi for herself but the girlfriend comes forward and says no she wasn't with us she just gave us her phone. So during the investigation police learned that Kristin had a son when she was younger but since she was a drug user she wasn't allowed to see him the young boy however was allowed to have visits with Veronica. So he would be taken for visits to the farm, Kristin would see the baby at the farm. So she knew her way around there and had been there before this gives a motive for Kristin. I mean it's not like a really big motive but maybe she wanted Per and Veronica to hang onto the farm so she could continue visiting her son there. It was a way for her to see him. Also during his interview lars claims that Kristin asked him to get some guns which he did. Like we said Kristin also says that she asked him to do this and says that she gave a bag of guns to veronica who looked them over and put the guns down on the table at the farm.

According to Kristin, Veronica put the bag down too hard and one of the guns fired and that a bullet went through the bag struck a table and also hit one of the pictures on the wall veronica denies any of this and denies that there were ever any guns at the house. The only reason i'm even putting this in is because when police go to Veronica and say hey these two said they provided you guns, she was like no. So they went back to Kristin, Lars and said do you have any evidence that you
were there with guns, and they said oh one of them actually went off and shot a picture frame. They go back to the farm they find a picture frame shot a table dented so then they go to veronica and they say hey well they said this happened. So how can you explain this gunshot in your farm if this wasn't the case. She then decides to change her story, Veronica does and says that she was home wrapping presents at the dining room table when Kristin comes over and threatens to kill herself with a gun.

According to Veronica, Kristin is waving around the gun. She points it at her own head, but then she suddenly points it and shoots it at Veronica. Veronica says the shot misses and this is how the bullet hit the table and the picture on the wall.



Stories Not Making Any Sense

The police are confronting Lars about his small boy gun. They ask where'd your small boy gun go? We know you had a 38 small boy. He admits oh well I don't have it anymore, I sold it. But I did use it for target practice. Police go in the woods and they're able to find where he used his small boy gun for target practice.

They find a bunch of spent shell casings from his 38 small boy. These shell casings match the shell casings that were found at the murder scene so this i mean police have basically concluded that small boy was used as a murder weapon but it was never found.

In June or July 1999 there is a funeral and church service for the three murdered victims Per is present at his family's funeral and is seen weeping in grief.

Arrests are Made

At some point in June or July, Per and Veronica are arrested and charged with the murders of his parents. Her in-laws Kristin and Lars had already been arrested on illegal firearm charges but now Kristin and Lars are also charged with complicity to commit murder. According to the Norway Post the four defendants are released from custody.

On June 22, 2001 Per, Veronica, and Kristin were convicted on all charges which include complicity to commit premeditated murder, they each received a sentence of 21 years in prison. They all appeal their sentences, Lars was found guilty of charges involving illegal weapons. He was sentenced to only two and a half years in prison.

By all accounts, the defendants are convicted of being accessories to the murder. However, none of them were charged or convicted of actually committing the murder. There wasn't enough evidence, so the question has always remained, who actually pulled the trigger.

On April 5th, 2002, the prosecution prevailed on its appeal of Lars' sentence and Lars is re-sentenced, receiving a much harsher penalty. He is sentenced to 18 years in prison. After the appeals, Kristin is sentenced to 16 years in prison. In 2011, Kristin is released from prison. In 2013, Lars is released from prison and sometime around January 7, 2015, Per is released from prison. He moves back to the family farm he has inherited because his whole family is dead. He's been renting out the whole time he's been in prison and making money off of it.

Aftermath

Per and Veronica are back together and continue to maintain their innocence. They're still alive, they have even hired private investigators to try to clear their name. In 2018, a witness ties Lars to the 180 call made back in 1999 that threatened the lives of the three. We don't know why the witness waited 20 years to come forward. Per and Veronica formally file to reopen the case. Their PI has delivered more than 1,000 pages and 28 videos of material to the state commission, charged with evaluating whether criminal investigations should be reopened.

The PI claims that he's discovered new evidence that clears Per and Veronica. Lars eventually passed in 2019. Kristin passed away as well. But now, Per and Veronica are living on the Orderud family farm.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Lawrence Lease

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