816 North

Clay County man gets life for 1989 Nebraska murder

A 46-year-old Missourian from Clay County was given life in prison Monday for the 1989 murder of a Nebraska woman.

“You are a dangerous person,” Judge Karin Noakes told John Oldson inside a Howard County courtroom in St. Paul. “The public needs protection.”

Oldson, of Randolph, was convicted Feb. 8 of second-degree murder in the death of Catherine Beard, a 31-year-old waitress at the Someplace Else Tavern in Ord. She disappeared in 1989. Her remains were found in 1992.

Oldson, who used to live in Ord, was interviewed in 1989 but not arrested. Authorities said new evidence and witnesses led to his January 2012 arrest in Missouri.

Oldson moved to the Kansas City area after he was released from prison in 2005 and lived with his mother before moving to Randolph. He had been in Randolph about three years when he was arrested. He was married and attending school.

Local authorities said Oldson didn’t have a record of offenses in Missouri but had convictions in Nebraska for assault and child abuse.

An appeal is likely, Oldson’s attorney said.

The trial was held in Howard County instead of Valley County after a judge granted a change of venue because of pretrial publicity.