A Needham, Massachusetts, man pleaded guilty Monday in the 2018 stabbing death of his girlfriend.
Benjamin Walsh, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Sept. 10, 2018 death of Olivia Bergstrom in the Needham apartment they shared. After stabbing Bergstrom to death, Walsh allegedly drove to Primavera restaurant in Millis and attacked his parents with a knife.
The owner of the restaurant told NBC10 Boston at the time that Walsh’s family was celebrating a birthday at the restaurant when Walsh showed up and suddenly attacked, stabbing his mother and father until other family members were able to pull him off of them.
Prosecutors said that on the night of the murder, Walsh told his family he was going to kill all of them. But he was in tears when he faced a judge just days later and was forced to listen to the gruesome details.
When police found Bergstrom, prosecutors said she was only partially dressed and covered in blood, with stab wounds all over her body. She had suffered 13 stab wounds to her back and three to her abdomen.
Walsh’s grandfather told NBC10 Boston at the time that Walsh was being treated for mental health issues and Bergstrom and his parents were trying to help him. His father told The Boston Globe that his son had struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues, calling the situation a “nightmare.”
Police records showed that on the night of the killing, Walsh was suspected of using alcohol and drugs.
Judge Beverly Cannone sentenced Walsh on Monday to life in prison with the right to seek parole after he has served 25 years for the murder, with lesser sentences on the assault charges against his parents to be served concurrently.
Prosecutors said they consulted with Bergstrom’s surviving family and Walsh’s parents before deciding to allow Walsh to plead to second-degree murder.
“This brings its own finality to the proceeding,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a statement. “The outcome of a trial is never assured, and appeals procedures in murder cases span many years. I cannot imagine the pain of Olivia’s parents, and my thoughts are very much with them today.”
The plea came on the morning that jury selection in Walsh’s trial had been set to begin.