Hey, little skeletons! I’m Gina – And I’m Amber! – and this is Weird True Crime!
Gina: Today we are covering the tragic murder of 78-year-old Barbara Olson by two rather surprising suspects.
Amber: Who they are may be surprising enough, but when you hear the motive, it will be even more shocking.
Gina: After the show, if you like what you heard, check out our website to see pictures and get caught up on past episodes we’ve done!
Amber: It’s not all doom and gloom though, join our Facebook group: Weird True Crime Podcast or follow us on Instagram @weirdtruecrime for memes, conversation, and more! Now, let’s get into today’s story.
Gina: Barbara Jean Shipman was born on July 2, 1934, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Mancil and Eunice Shipman. After she graduated high school in 1952, she worked with her father at the Chippewa County Co-Op Diary in the office for around 6 months. Over the next couple of years, she attended the Gale Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, worked with teletype messages from across the country, worked for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, and worked at the Chippewa Motor Freight. On February 27, 1954, she married Wesley Olson in Bloomer, Wisconsin, and they had three children together, Joy, Judy, and Steven. She would go on to work for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Wisconsin part-time from 1968 to 1979 as a Claim Approver, then switched to full-time as a Customer Service Rep from 1974 until she retired in 1996. While enjoying retirement, Barbara was a member of Grace Communion International where she sang in the church choir. She loved her family very, very much and enjoyed spending time with her grandkids and great-grandkids. She spent some time tracing back her family lineage and even tracked it all the way back to King Edward, III of England! Some of her other hobbies included scrapbooking, playing piano, flower gardening, reading, sewing, knitting, quilting, traveling, and watching the Green Bay Packers. She sounds like a wonderful, sweet, caring great-grandmother. She would even volunteer her time to drive elderly people to their appointments.
Amber: One of Barbara’s daughters, Judy, lived nearby and Barbara would often stop by for a visit in the mornings. However, on the morning of Tuesday, September 18, 2012, she didn’t show up. Judy noted that it was a little odd, but didn’t assume the worst. The following morning, Barbara didn’t show up again so Judy started to get worried. She had called and texted her mother over the next several hours, but there was no response. Unable to reach her via phone, she decided to drive to Barbara’s house to check on her since she only lived a few minutes away. Judy lifted the garage door and noted that her mother’s car was not there, and saw a blanket on the garage floor. As she drew closer to the blanket, she realized her mother’s legs were sticking out from beneath it. She called her mother’s name a few times, but she didn’t move. Judy searched for her cell phone to call 911, but realized she didn’t have it and ran to find a neighbor to call 911 for her.
13 Year Olds Murder Grandma For $155 911 call 1:31 to 2:13
It was a good thing that Judy didn’t lift the blanket and check her mother herself because she would have had the image of her mother seared in her mind for the rest of her life. Barbara’s hands and arms were bloody from what appeared to be defensive wounds, and there was a black plastic bag over her head secured with a black belt. Barbara’s head had been crushed and beaten so badly that parts of her face were missing or indistinguishable and the top part of her head was all but missing. Police noticed a blood trail that led from her body through the connecting door from the garage into the house. Barbara was described as peaceful and positive which didn’t leave the investigators with any immediate leads as no one could think of anyone who could possibly have a reason to harm her.
Gina: After some conversations with family members and checking out surveillance footage from nearby businesses, the investigators were led to 13-year-old Antonio Barbeau, aka “Tino” and his 13-year-old friend, Nathan Paape (Pop) aka Nate. Interrogators sat down with Antonio two days after the murder to try to get to the bottom of the brutal killing of his great-grandmother. Initially, Antonio claimed that he hadn’t seen his great-grandmother in at least a month or two and the last time he had been to her house, he had done some yard work. He had told the detectives that he had run away from home on Friday and had stayed with Nate over the weekend. Monday when Nate went to school, Antonio stayed at his house and watched TV all day. Little did Antonio know, but they had already spoken to his friend, Nathan Paape, who gave a very, very different version of events. Police went to Nathan’s house just hours after Barbara’s body was discovered and questioned him at his home, with his mother present. After going over the initial story with Nathan, the detectives ask him if there’s anything that he wasn’t being completely truthful about and to come clean even if he is covering for his friend. They just wanted to get to the bottom of what had happened and don’t want anyone getting into trouble for something they didn’t do. Nathan asks if he can write it down, so the interrogators agree and give him a piece of paper. Silence follows except for the sound of Nathan writing and quietly sobbing.
Amber: The 9 words that Nate wrote down on the piece of paper were “He killed his grandma and I was with him.” This prompts the detectives to read him his Miranda rights and officially place him into police custody. Those 9 words he didn’t want to say it out loud in front of his mom. The criminal complaint, written by Lieutenant Aaron Wigen from the Sheboygan Falls Police Department, explains the story of the events that led to Barabara’s death from the information gathered from Nathan, and later on, Antonio. Nathan claims that when he got home from school on Monday, Antonio mentioned he could kill his grandmother. Nate thought he was just joking, but they got Nate’s mother to drive them out to Sheboygan Falls anyway. They told her it was so they could meet up with one of their friends. Before they left, Nathan retrieved a hammer while Antonio got a hatchet that they hid in their clothes. Nate’s mother dropped them off about two miles away from Barbara’s house so the boys walked the rest of the way. Once they arrived, they entered Barbara’s garage through an unlocked side door. Barbara must have heard them make noise out there because she came out to see and asked them what they were doing in her garage and if they were cold. She then tells Antonio that she’s going to go call his mom since he was a runaway and had been missing from shelter care since Friday. She tells the boys to come inside and then makes a comment to Antonio “Don’t steal my money.” As she turned around to go inside to place the phone call, Antonio struck her with the blunt end of the hatchet in her head, knocking her down to the ground where he continued to strike her several more times as she raised her arms to try to cover her head, groaning, and pleading with them to stop. Nathan says Antonio told him to help, so he hit her twice with the hammer because he was afraid if he didn’t, then Antonio would hit him. Antonio, using the blade end of the hatchet this time, hit her again and it got stuck. It took both of the boys to pull the hatchet out. They realized Barbara was dead so they tried to load her in the truck of her car, but were unable to lift her.
Gina: When Antonio finally starts telling the truth about what happened that day, his version of the events is a little different than what Nate describes. He says that he at one point had a change of heart and didn’t want to go through with it, but did anyway. When Barbara turned her back to go inside to place the call to his mother, Antonio states that Nate nodded to him as an indication to hit her. He says that he did hit her once in the head with the flat end of the hatchet and she yelled so he hit her again, but then had to run to the bathroom because he didn’t feel good. He says he is pretty sure Nate hit her once or twice as well, and that he was only in the bathroom for about 30 seconds but when he came out, she was dead. They didn’t know what to do so they were freaking out for about two hours. They did try to load her into the trunk of her car, but couldn’t so they tried to drag her back towards the house to take her inside and down to the basement, but were unable to lift her body up over the step that leads into the house. According to the criminal complaint, Nathan stated they went through the house taking her purse, loose quarters, and jewelry – including rings, earrings, and a watch and then fled the house in Barbara’s gold four-door Buick. Nate says they drove to a church and left the car there and walked to Nate’s house. While there, they went through Barbara’s purse and took out the money, and then just went to sleep that night. They disposed of her purse by throwing it into the sewer. The following day, the boys took the car and parked it at a bowling alley, and headed to grab some pizza because Antonio was hungry. After they enjoyed their pizza at the pizza place, they went and purchased some gloves and wipes to wipe down Barbara’s car to remove their fingerprints from it. They then left the keys in the car and the jewelry and everything visible in the car in the hopes that someone else might steal the car and end up taking the blame. They ditched the gloves and wipes in some bushes near the bowling alley as well.
Amber: Officer Nicole Schmelter of the Sheboygan Falls Police Department was assigned as the lead officer in executing a number of search warrants. According to her report, a purse was found in the storm drain three houses down from Nathan’s residence containing items that positively identified it as belonging to Barbara Olson. Also recovered from Nathan’s house were quarters, a gold watch, and blood-spattered clothes including jeans, shoes, and a t-shirt. When Barbara’s vehicle was discovered, they located in the trunk of the car a hatchet and hammer, and a bloodied blanket-like material, including a crocheted throw with what appeared to be bits of human flesh on it. In the front seat of the car, there was a school paper with the name “Nate” written on it. On the back seat, a bag of jewelry was found. Nicole also found a small coin purse in the vehicle that matched the pattern and color of the purse they found in the storm drain belonging to Barbara. Another search warrant was obtained, this time for Antion’s locker in the juvenile detention center where he had been placed on Tuesday due to unrelated reasons. Clothes and apparent blood-spattered shoes were seized during this search. They checked the bushes near the bowling alley and located used wipes and bloodied work gloves that aligned with the statement Nate had previously given. Even though Antonio had initially denied seeing his grandmother, when he started talking, his story aligned pretty closely with what Nathan had confessed to the detectives. The main difference in their stories is that Antonio’s story paints a murder scene that is much less gruesome than Nathan’s account of the events and both boys try to place more of the blame on the other. Regardless, according to their stories, there was enough evidence of premeditation beginning with them retrieving the weapons before Nathan’s mother had driven and dropped them off. In the two-mile walk from where they were dropped off to Barbara’s house, they also had a lot of time to change their minds and not follow through. The biggest question though remained mostly unanswered. Why?
Gina: Nate says that when Antonio had mentioned killing his grandmother and he thought he was joking, it was his idea how to get some money. Money for what though? It was established that the boys used some of the money stolen from Barbara to purchase the pizza they enjoyed the following day, but around $155 was reported missing, so where did the rest of it go? Pizza and wipes only cost so much, if they used the money to buy the wipes too that is. The investigators had questioned about drug usage and Antonio had fessed to smoking marijuana in the past, but if they were to test, they wouldn’t find any in his system from more recently than a week or so prior. Nathan was the one to admit to purchasing around $145 worth of weed. So they murdered Antonio’s grandmother and stole $155 from her to purchase… marijuana? Money has been a motive for murder since the beginning of time, but such an insignificant amount makes it hard to believe someone could murder their own family member over it. Then again, you have to remember these are two 13-year-old boys we are talking about here. Their adolescent brains aren’t fully developed.
Amber: It was also reported that Antonio had been hit by a car at the age of 10 and suffered a concussion. Traumatic brain injuries that occur during developmental years can possibly cause long-lasting changes. Here are some of the changes that can occur: First one is severe mood swings which can change the way the patient reacts to certain situations. Flat affect is what is referred to when someone seems less engaged or less interested in their family or in the activities they once enjoyed. This could make them appear that they have no response to emotional stimuli and/or could present as a lack of ability to show emotion through facial expressions. Aggressive behavior is another common side effect and studies have shown that around 30% of traumatic brain injury patients report struggles with anger and aggressive behavior. Some people with a traumatic brain injury can also get fixated on certain thoughts or actions which is referred to as perseveration. An example could be that they would get scared, angry, or confused when their routine changes, or they could get stuck on a certain topic during conversation and refuse to change the subject. Lastly, it seems that many brain injury patients develop a more self-centered personality after their injury which can be due to damage to the frontal lobe. During the boys’ interrogations, you can hear the emotion in Nate’s voice. He is crying when he writes down the confession to the detective and you hear him sobbing other times throughout the interview. However, during Antonio’s recorded interrogation, you can clearly see his lack of emotion and facial expressions throughout the entire thing.
Gina: In January of 2013, Antonio entered a plea of not guilty by mental disease or defect, and two weeks later, Nathan also entered a plea of not guilty. Antonio’s attorney tried to have his trial moved because of the publicity, but his request was denied. Four months later in May, Antonio then changed his plea to no contest as part of a deal with the state thus allowing him to be eligible for parole in 35 years. What it means to plead no contest is that while you’re not admitting to guilt, you accept the conviction and will be treated as guilty in terms of sentencing. Now only Nathan would actually go to trial which began on Monday, June 17, 2013. Two days later, Antonio Barbeau took the stand to testify against his friend, but not as a part of his plea bargain, he did so voluntarily to describe the role Nathan played in the killing of his great-grandmother. The defense attorney for Antonio had argued that his traumatic brain injury had most likely played a role in his decision to commit the crime. Antonio’s grandmother also offered a plea in mitigation saying that Barbara would have wanted Antonio to not receive a strict punishment so that he could have a chance to be a better person. Nathan’s attorney and family argued that Nathan should not be held accountable because he was allegedly developmentally challenged. A family member had stated in a news interview that Nathan believed he would be coming home after admitting to the murder which indicates he did not grasp the severity of what they had done – or thought about consequences.
Amber; The judge, Timothy Van Akkeren, disagreed with it all stating that the crime they had committed was the worst he had encountered in his 24 years on the bench, “I’ve not seen anything of this nature, not even close,” he said. To put that into perspective, the last murder Sheboygan Falls had seen before Barbara’s death was a murder/suicide 16 years before in 1996. Before that, there was a homicide by strangulation in 1978, and two years later officers responded to a domestic disturbance situation where they encountered a gunman who was ultimately shot and killed by the responding officers. Heinous crimes like this just didn’t happen in the peaceful town of Sheboygan Falls. It’s also important to note here that as we went over earlier, during the interrogation/confession, Antonio admitted that he had struck Barbara a couple of times and stated that Nate had also hit her a couple of times as well. Nathan’s account of the killing described a more vicious attack saying that Antonio had stuck her multiple times while he only hit her twice. The medical examiner, Douglas Kelley, who performed the autopsy on Barbara had testified on the second day of the trial. Images of the gashes and fractures to Barbara’s head, face, hands, and arms were shown to the jury. He said, “In examining the head, I found there were at least 18 different injuries or blows. 11 of these have evidence of sharp force and most of them have evidence of blunt force.” The heartbreaking revelation about the wounds on her arms and hands means that she hadn’t been completely knocked unconscious when she was first struck. So as she laid there, pleading for the attack to stop, she knew it was her own flesh and blood that was behind the attack that would end up taking her life. The evidence supports Nathan’s claims that she was hit repeatedly rather than Antonio stating it was only a few times from both of them.
Gina: On Thursday, June 20, 2013, after only two hours of deliberation, the jury found Nathan Paape guilty of first degree intentional homicide, party to a crime for his role in Barbara Olson’s death. His sentencing didn’t happen until Tuesday August 13, 2013 where he gave a short apology before he was sentenced:
5PM TUES NATHAN PAAPE SENTENCING 1:28 to 1:35 – Recording of Nathan Paape’s apology
He was sentenced to life in prison, and will be eligible for parole in December of 2043 at the age of 45. Antonio Barbeau was sentenced the day before on August 12, where he also received life in prison for the same conviction of first degree intentional homicide. He will be eligible for parole in 2048 at the age of 50. He was unable to get through his statement in court, so his lawyer had to finish it for him, “I know I don’t show my emotions. I myself am not sure why, but that doesn’t mean I don’t… I took away someone’s mother, grandma, sister, friend. I had no right to do so. Because of this one action I decided to take, I’ve ruined so many lives.”
Amber: I know that all children make dumbass mistakes – it’s how they learn and grow and mature. I made my fair share of mistakes when I was younger because I wanted to impress someone, or I was scared. I know that I didn’t have any cognitive issues like it was expressed Antonio had, but I know for a fact I could never even possibly entertain the idea of harming my grandmother. My mom can tell you, I was annoying when it came to my grandmother, Mamaw, as I called her. She was one of my absolute most favorite people in the world. Back when I was a kid, we lived out in BFE and I used to have to ride the bus to and from school every day. It was a bit of a drive. One particular time, I remember the bus coming to a routine stop, and all of a sudden I heard my grandmother’s voice ask if I was on the bus. I lost it and just shouted “Mamaw” over and over in my ridiculously high-pitched Minnie Mouse voice I had back then. I all but launched myself into her arms when I saw her at the door to the bus. Bus driver didn’t even stop me as it was very, very apparent that I knew who she was. Stuff like that certainly wouldn’t fly today though. As of right now there are 28 states in the US that have banned life without parole for children, which makes it seem that the US is just as on the fence about life sentencing for juveniles like I am. As I said before, kids make mistakes… but not all kids make the conscious decision to commit such a brutal act as Antonio and Nathan did. The whole case is just heartbreaking for both families for many reasons, and I just hope that one day, when they are eligible for parole, they can show they have become better versions of themselves, and won’t continue to make the same mistakes.
Gina: My Mamaw lived several hours away and I didn’t get to see her as often as I would have liked, however, she was the sweetest, meekest woman I’ve ever known and there’s no way in a million years I would have harmed her in any way. mmmmmI have mixed feelings about long-term sentencing for young children who commit violent crimes like this. The brain isn’t fully developed until we’re 25 years old, so a 13-year-old isn’t going to understand the severity or finality of their actions the way an adult would. However, if a child has the ability to think up and act on something as gruesome as this, it leads me to believe there are some underlying issues attributing to those actions. It’s hard to believe that even decades in prison would change those basic thoughts and desires. We know they aren’t being rehabilitated and without the proper mental health support, who’s to say they won’t be paroled and go on to harm someone else. It’s easy to see why life without the possibility for parole is such a hot topic when it comes to underage defendants. Come back next time for another lightened up episode of WTF Wednesday!
Until next week, stay safe – and make good choices – byeeeeeee……………..byebye.
Great-Grandmother Barbara Olson Murdered for Petty Cash
This week, Amber and Gina are talking about the completely unnecessary murder of 78-year-old Barbara Olson by her own great-grandson, Antonio Beadreau and his friend Nathan Paape. Antonio and Nathan were only 13-years-old when they committed the murder. The boys made away with her Buick, some jewelry, and $155 dollars.
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxJeFECCfFA 911 call on EWU YouTube video. (Timestamp: 1:31 to 2:13)