Originally created 03/31/04

"Passion of the Christ" prompts man to confess to bombings



OSLO, Norway -- A Norwegian man trying to put his neo-Nazi past behind him confessed to bombing a youth group's headquarters in the 1990s, saying he admitted his guilt after seeing "The Passion of the Christ."

The Oslo district court on Monday ordered Johnny Olsen, 41, held for two weeks for investigation after he turned himself in to police during the weekend. He said he conducted two bombings in 1994 and 1995 of a left-wing youth group's headquarters. No one was injured in the separate attacks on the Blitz House in downtown Oslo.

Olsen, who was convicted of murder when he was a teenager and served 12 years in prison, said he was moved to his confession by Mel Gibson's film that graphically portrays Christ's crucifixion.

As he entered the courtroom for his detention hearing Monday, Olsen, in a choked voice, told reporters that "Jesus lives" and "I distance myself from my past and neo-Nazism."

His attorney, Fridtjof Feydt, told newspapers that he was stunned by his client's confession, describing it as a "bolt of lightning" after Olsen saw the film.

Olsen is being investigated for arson in the bombings. If convicted, it is likely he would get a mild sentence because he confessed and because he led police to an illegal weapons stash.

The film has inspired at least one other person to confess to a crime.

In Texas, Dan R. Leach, 21, saw the film and admitted killing his girlfriend, whose death in January had been ruled a suicide.