Update 8/23/19 – Olson agreed this week to plead guilty to murder and rape charges in the Wohlfarth death case to avoid a potential death sentence, according to prosecutors. He was indicted on Tuesday on felony charges of aggravated murder, grand theft of a motor vehicle, gross abuse of a corpse, rape and trespass in a habitation, according to Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.
As part of the plea, Olson will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, said James Pollack, a spokesperson for the prosecutor. The case is part of a program for possible death penalty cases that Walsh’s office launched two years ago. Attorneys for the defendants in these types of cases meet with prosecutors to discuss mitigating information to avoid a prolonged capital case.
“For us, this is all part of an effort to ease the pain, suffering and hardship placed on the victim’s family,” Pollack said. “Death penalty cases can be a very long and drawn-out process. Plus, there is also the appeals, which can drag the case on for years.”
The victim’s family and investigators approved Olson’s agreement, Pollack said. He’ll be sentenced on Aug. 27 by Amy Corrigall Jones, a judge for the Summit County Court of Common Pleas General Division, according to a source.
Update 6/25/19 – The body of a 68-year-old woman was found in an Akron, Ohio, self-storage unit last week, and an acquaintance has been arrested on charges of murder and auto theft in relation to the incident. Antiques dealer Mary Kay Wohlfarth, who rented a unit at the storage facility in the 500 block of Tallmadge Avenue, was found in another renter’s space after being reported missing on Wednesday. She died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck, and her death has been ruled a homicide, according to several sources.
An employee from the storage facility called police on Wednesday after seeing suspicious activity at Wohlfarth’s unit on surveillance video. In a 911 call, the employee said the unit had been accessed by another individual on Monday. “And to my knowledge, that individual has no permission, reason, authority to go in there,” the caller said.
Wohlfarth’s body was found in a unit rented by the Olson Family, which was near her own. Both parties had rented at the facility for years, a source reported. Like the victim, the Olsons had once operated a business from the property.
Members of the Wohlfarth Family told police they hadn’t spoken to her since Monday. The facility’s surveillance video showed Michael J. Olson, 35, driving her 2012 Kia Sedona from the facility the same day. Police discovered the vehicle Thursday morning on Whittier Avenue, according to Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards.
Michael Olson confessed to the crime but hasn’t offered police a motive. He’s being held at Summit County Jail on a $1 million bond.
“We don't really have a motive. We know the victim and suspect are acquaintances. They would frequently see each other. There was some communication—he's a handyman, would do some work, trying to get work,” said Edwards, adding that nothing from Wohlfarth’s unit appeared to be missing.
Michael Olson was arrested at his home on Phyllis Avenue on June 19 and pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. His next court hearing is July 10.
Fox 8, Akron Police: Man Confesses to Killing 68-Year-Old Woman, Hiding Body in Storage Unit
Cleveland.com, Death of Akron Woman Found in Storage Unit Ruled a Homicide, Medical Examiner Says
Cleveland.com, Man Avoids Potential Death Penalty by Pleading to Murder, Rape of Akron Woman Found in Storage Unit, Prosecutors Say