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A.K.A.: Svarta Hästen ("The Black Horse")
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: December 11, 1909
Date of arrest: Same
Date of birth: April 15, 1867
Victim profile: Daniel Dunder, 82, and his wife Kerstin, 75
Method of murder: Poisoning (arsenic)
Location: Heden, Leksand, Sweden
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment in January 1910. Paroled on October 31, 1930. Died on June 7, 1953

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Frans Otto Eriksson (15 April 1867 – 7 June 1953), also known as Svarta Hästen ("The Black Horse"), was a Swedish baker and a convicted thief and murderer.

Initially involved in petty crimes between baking jobs, Eriksson joined a conspiracy to commit double murder in desperation for money. Despite being caught, he escaped the death penalty and was sentenced to life imprisonment, of which he served nearly 21 years.

Early life

Eriksson was born in Badelunda, Västerås. His family moved to Stenby, Adelsö when he was six years old. At the age of thirteen, he moved back to Västerås, where he lived until his church confirmation.

Education and work

After his confirmation, Eriksson became an apprentice with a local baker. In the early 1890s, Eriksson moved to Stockholm, where he worked at a number of bakeries. He later moved to Gnesta. Around 1900, he moved to Obbola, where he found work at a local store. After about a year at that job, Eriksson became indigent and was vagrant for some time. In July 1907, Eriksson found employment at a baker's shop in Vretstorp, where the owner was pleased with his work.


In September 1900, Eriksson borrowed a suit from a friend. When he did not return the suit, the friend pressed charges against him; Eriksson was sentenced to two months imprisonment for shoplifting and embezzlement.

On 8 July 1904, Eriksson was convicted of shoplifting for a second time after stealing clothes from a shop in Haverö, Sweden. He was sentenced to prison for two months, which he served in Sundsvall. In January 1905, Eriksson and a friend, who both were drunk at the time, stole three cans of lobster in Sollefteå. He was again sentenced to two months in jail, plus an additional year to be served in Härnösand. In 1909, Eriksson moved to the city of Leksand.

Double murders

In the village of Heden, Leksand, Eriksson moved in with Kerstis Karin Olsdotter (also known as "Jutta"), along with Fredrik Alfred Vestlund (also known as "Löfstalunsen"). Olsdotter lived a promiscuous life and had a poor reputation in the village.

Olsdotter was informed that a former corporal Daniel Dunder, born 1827, and his wife Kerstin, born 1834, had recently sold their last cow to a neighbour and received a large sum of money. Eriksson, Olsdotter and Vestlund were in need of money; they thought of scheme to rob the Dunder couple on 11 December 1909.

To avoid revealing their identities, the trio decided to poison the couple. Vestlund administered the poison by serving the Dunder couple coffee laced with arsenic, while Eriksson and Olsdotter stood guard outside the Dunders' home. The Dunders died immediately and the trio started cleaning up the crime scene and started a fire in the couples' fireplace to make it look like the couple had died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Discovery of the bodies and trial

The dead couple was discovered by a neighbour and the police quickly suspected murder. Evidence pointed to Eriksson, Olsdotter and Vestlund, who were all arrested in a matter of days. They were taken to Falu prison by Christmas and on 10 January 1910, legal proceedings started in Leksand. Olsdotter was sentenced to death for plotting the murders while Eriksson received life imprisonment. Vestlund, who was considered the mastermind behind the murders, was also sentenced to death.

On 15 July of that year, the court denied their appeals; but on 28 October 1910, the sentences against Vestlund and Olsdotter were commuted to life imprisonment. Eriksson and Vestlund served their time in Långholmen Prison within Stockholm while Olsdotter served her time at a women's prison in Växjö.


Eriksson served his first years on the island of Långholmen. In January 1916, he was transferred to Malmö. During his time in prison, Eriksson was involved in a number of fights because of his temperament, which may have factored into the denials of many of his later appeals. In 1918, he was sent to Karlskrona before he was transferred back in Långholmen in 1920. In 1922, Eriksson was transferred to a low-security prison in Mariestad that specialized in farming, and was permitted to work there with horses.


In November 1925, Eriksson wrote his first clemency appeal, which was denied. He made additional requests in 1926, 1928 and 1929 without success. On 31 October 1930, his clemency request was approved upon his fifth appeal.

Later life

Eriksson's return to freedom was full of hardship, as he had a difficult time finding work as a farm hand in Stockholm. He also suffered from paranoia. In 1953, he was placed in a nursing home in Västerås, where he died of cancer on 7 June 1953. His remains were buried on 20 January 1954 in the cemetery at Skogskyrkogården.


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