Chief Offers Holiday Card, Gets Shocking Murder Confession

South Dakota's Brent Hanson allegedly killed brother, sister-in-law, unborn child
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2021 11:46 AM CST
Chief Offers Holiday Card, Gets Shocking Murder Confession
Clyde and Jessica Hanson, with their child.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – A South Dakota man has allegedly confessed to murdering his brother and sister-in-law, who was nine months pregnant, days before Christmas. The confession came about in an unusual way. On Dec. 14, Milbank Police Chief Boyd VanVooren sent Brent Hanson a Facebook message asking him to come to the station the next day to receive a Christmas card from his church, per the Washington Post. Hanson, who reportedly didn't own a phone, was awaiting trial on a charge that he assaulted his sister-in-law in July; she lived with her husband in an apartment above Hanson's in a home co-owned by the brothers, per KELO. Hanson turned up to receive the card, then began answering questions about the current living situation.

About 35 minutes into the meeting, "a call went out over the police radio indicating that a food delivery person had noticed blood on the door of the Hanson home," per the Post. Hanson indicated the couple were no longer living there and, in response to a question about where they went, drew his thumb across his neck. "I snapped," the 57-year-old added, according to a police report. He allegedly then confessed to killing Clyde Hanson with a baseball bat in the home on Sunday, then killing Jessica Hanson with a machete when she returned home on Monday morning. Her unborn child, a girl to be named Annika, also died. Hanson noted he'd been caring for the couple's 3-year-old child in his apartment in the days since.

He's now charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder. The latter charges will apply only if Hanson is acquitted of the more serious counts, per the Post. He also faces two counts of simple assault tied to the July 24 incident. According to a probable cause statement, Jessica Hanson claimed her brother-in-law began beating her after she asked him about her missing dog, who was supposed to be in his care while she was away receiving medical treatment. He reportedly said he'd taken the dog to a farm, but would not say where. Jessica Hanson afterwards stated "she was afraid for her safety and afraid to go back home because she is unsure what Brent is capable of," according to the document. (Read more murder stories.)

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