Crime - Sacto 911

Man sentenced for murder of acquaintance he buried in field

A man convicted of murdering an acquaintance and burying him in a field near his North Highlands property has been sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.

A Sacramento County jury in April found William Partick Olsem, 49, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Larry Edward Lillard of Wheatland. He was sentenced Friday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

On May 1, 2013, a woman contacted law enforcement authorities to report a killing that she knew had been committed in 2012, officials said. She also stated that the body was buried near Olsem’s backyard.

Follow-up by law enforcement officers revealed that Lillard had been reported missing a month earlier. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, with the help of the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Crime Lab, excavated the suspected grave in a field adjacent to Olsem’s property in the 7500 block of 34th Street in North Highlands. Lillard’s body was found in the grave. He had been hogtied with four ligatures around his neck.

Authorities said the motive for the murder was Lillard’s $18,000 motor home and his Supplemental Security Income benefits, which was automatically deposited to Lillard’s bank account. Olsem sold the motor home and used Lillard’s bank card after the murder.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy