A South Dakota man is accused of bludgeoning his brother to death inside his home before continuing his rampage the next day when he fatally struck his pregnant sister-in-law with a machete.
Authorities arrested 57-year-old Brent Monroe Hanson last week and charged him with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 12 death of his brother Clyde Hanson and his wife, Jessica Hanson, who was nine months pregnant.
Just five months before the murders, Hanson had assaulted Jessica Hanson, and he agreed to meet Milbank Police Chief Boyd VanVooren on the morning of Dec. 15 to discuss any “further issues” issues stemming from that altercation with his sister-in-law. All three Hansons lived together, with Brent Hanson occupying the home’s first floor, while Clyde and Jessica resided upstairs.
“They no longer live here,” Brent Hanson allegedly told VanVooren during the meeting, shortly before the couple’s bodies were found.
Roughly 30 minutes later, VanVooren was alerted over police radio about a wellness check at the Hansons’ address after a delivery person stopped by with a food basket and “thought she saw blood on the door.”
Responding officers said they found the couple’s bodies with injuries that were “consistent with homicidal violence,” according to charging documents obtained by KELO-TV.
When pressed about his brother’s whereabouts, and whether there was blood on his front door, Hanson twice repeated, “I snapped,” and made a “slashing motion,” charging documents show.
“I killed them on Sunday,” Brent Hanson allegedly said before elaborating that while his brother was home alone on Sunday he struck him in the head with a baseball bat “enough times,” until he was “gone.”
According to VanVooren, Hanson said that when his sister-in-law returned home on Monday morning, he whacked her in the head with a machete, adding that he “totally flipped.”
Hanson spared the couple’s 3-year-old, allegedly telling police that the toddler was safe and had been in his care. He stayed up with the toddler until 3:30 a.m., he said, adding that he had left the boy sleeping in the apartment and that the bodies of the child’s parents were upstairs.
Hanson was detained and transported to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office where he was later charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three additional counts of second-degree murder. He remains in custody on a $5 million bond.
When VanVooren and Grant County Sheriff Kevin Owen searched the Hansons’ home, they found Jessica Hanson’s body draped in a blue tarp and her husband “located behind some sheetrock” in a part of the house that was under construction, with “head trauma consistent with a blunt object,” according to charging documents.
The alleged murders were a tragic blow months after Jessica Hanson allegedly told officers in July that she feared for her safety and wasn’t sure what her brother-in-law was capable of after he repeatedly hit her on both sides of her skull, leaving her head “throbbing” and causing her to stagger backwards during a dispute about her dog. In a probable cause statement at the time, Milbank Police officer Jacob Folk had requested a warrant be issued for Hanson’s arrest in the domestic violence incident.
“Jessica & Clyde were kind, modest people, and devout Christians,” Jessica Hanson’s cousin, Veronica Torres, wrote on a GoFundMe page. “Jessica leaves behind her lovely innocent son Ty, her parents Manuel & Helen, along with her two older siblings Jamie & Jasmine. Shocked and utterly distraught do not begin to describe the condition my family is in.”
“As we come together to support the Hernandez family, our immediate focus is on getting 3-year-old Ty out of state custody & into the warm embrace of Jessica’s family,” she added.