Sweden PM Olof Palme murder: New prosecutor appointed

Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated on a Stockholm street in 1986.

Story highlights

  • Then-PM Olof Palme was gunned down in a Stockholm street
  • The man initially convicted in the assassination was released in 1989

(CNN)Sweden has named a new chief prosecutor to lead the inquiry into the 1986 unsolved murder of the country's then-Prime Minister Olof Palme.

Palme was gunned down as he took a late-night walk after visiting a local cinema with his wife, Lisbet on February 28, 1986. Despite eyewitness accounts and numerous leads over the last three decades, the identity of the killer remains a mystery.
    Now Krister Petersson, Stockholm's chief prosecutor, has been brought in to oversee the case. He's set to begin on February 1, according to the Swedish Prosecution Service.
    "I feel honored and I accept the mission with a great amount of energy," Petersson said in a statement reported by local media. "It is an interesting and important task."
    Petersson is one of Sweden's most distinguished prosecutors, specializing in organized crime. He has been involved in a number of high-profile cases during his career including the 2003 murder of Anna Lindh, the then-foreign minister.
    People placed flowers at the site where Palme was shot in the back on February 28, 1986.
    The murder of the Social Democratic leader has captivated Sweden for three decades. Many newspapers at the time criticized authorities for bungling the investigation by not setting up roadblocks immediately and slowly cordoning off the scene. Two cabinet ministers, the national police force chief and the head of the national police intelligence agency were all forced to step down as the probe developed.
    Convicted murderer, petty thief and drug addict Christer Pettersson was initially convicted of Palme's murder in 1988, in part, due to testimony from Palme's wife, who witnessed the killing. Pettersson was serving a life sentence for Palme's death when his conviction was thrown out in an appeals court in 1989 due to insufficient evidence. He died in 2004.
    A file picture of Christer Pettersson, arriving at his Stockholm apartment after being cleared of Palme's murder.
    The 2006 discovery of a handgun in a central Stockholm lake brought hopes of new developments in the ongoing inquiry but the case remains unsolved. Palme is the only European head of government to have been assassinated since before World War II.