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A South Dakota man allegedly confessed to killing his brother and his brother’s pregnant wife in their home after he “snapped,” authorities said.
Brent Monroe Hanson, 57, faces three counts of first-degree murder and three alternative counts of second degree murder in deaths of his brother Clyde Hanson and Clyde’s wife Jessica Hanson, who was nine months pregnant at the time of her brutal murder, local station KELO-TV reports.
He lived in the lower portion of a home that the two brothers owned, while Clyde and Jessica Hanson lived in an upper apartment.
The couple’s deaths were discovered on Wednesday after Milbank Police Chief Boyd Van Vooren had arranged to meet Brent Hanson at the police station to give him a Christmas card from church and discuss whether there had been any “further issues” between Brent Hanson, his brother and his sister-in-law, according to a probable cause statement.
Just months before the grisly murders, Jessica Hanson had told police she was “afraid for her safety” after she told them that her brother-in-law attacked her on July 24 and repeatedly hit her in the head during an argument, according to court documents obtained by the local station.
Brent Hanson was charged with simple assault after that attack.
In conversation with Van Vooren last week, he allegedly told the police chief that his brother and sister-in-law “no longer live” in the property the two brothers had owned.
Van Vooren then heard a call come in over the police radio requesting a welfare check at Jessica and Clyde Hanson’s home after someone delivering a food basket had seen what looked like blood on their front door, authorities said.
When Van Vooren asked Brent Hanson where the couple had moved to and if there had been blood on the door when he was last there, the man allegedly responded saying “I snapped” and then making a “slashing motion” across his neck, according to the statement.
When the chief asked him to explain what he meant, he allegedly added “I killed them on Sunday,” referring to Dec. 12.
Police said Brent Hanson went on to explain that he killed his brother on Dec. 12 with a baseball bat when he was home alone, whacking him in the head “enough times” so that he could ensure his brother was dead, according to the report.
When Jessica Hanson came home the next morning, Brent allegedly told police he whacked her in the head with a machete until she was dead, authorities said. She was nine months pregnant at the time.
The couple’s three-year-old child was not harmed. Brent Hanson said he took the child with him and had been caring for him since the murders.
When Van Vooren and Grant County Sheriff Kevin Owen went to the family’s home a short time later, they discovered the two bodies in an unfinished portion of the home, the probable cause document said.
Jessica Hanson’s body was found under a blue tarp while her husband had been hidden behind some sheet rock. Their young child was found in a finished portion of the apartment.
The July fight allegedly broke out after Jessica Hanson had come home from a recent stay at a mental health facility and learned that her brother-in-law had given her dog away while she was gone, according to a probable cause statement obtained by KELO-TV.
When she confronted him about the dog’s whereabouts, she told policem her brother-in-law threatened to throw her out of the building, pushed her and hit her multiple times in the head.
Brent Hanson is currently being held on a $5 million bond, according to South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
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