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Crime News Family Crimes

‘No Peace In Sight’: Family ‘Heartbroken’ Over Man’s Plea Deal In Brother, Pregnant Wife’s Slaying

Brent Hanson told police he “totally flipped” before killing brother Clyde Hanson and sister-in-law Jessica Hanson in December 2021.

By Dorian Geiger
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

The family of a South Dakota man who murdered his brother and his pregnant sister-in-law with a baseball bat and a machete are blasting the plea deal prosecutors struck with him.

Brent Hanson is pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the 2021 slaying of his brother Clyde Hanson, his sibling’s wife, Jessica Hanson, and her unborn baby, according to the Daily Beast. The plea deal will spare Hanson the death penalty.

Clyde Hanson and Jessica Hanson’s family have since spoken out, criticizing Grant County prosecutors’ decision to broker a deal with Hanson.

“We are heartbroken with the State attorney’s brash decision to enter into this plea agreement without the knowledge nor approval of the family,” the family said in a statement, The Daily Beast reported. “We are displeased with the work of the State Attorney as we had clearly stated to him that we wanted a trial for Jessica, Clyde, and Annika Hanson and made it clear to him that we were seeking justice in the form of the death penalty.”

According to The Daily Beast, Grant County States Attorney Jackson Schwandt told the family prosecutors pursued a plea deal in order to avoid a possible mistrial since one juror was undecided regarding capital punishment.

Clyde Jessica Hanson Fb

“The State attorney’s decision to enter into this plea agreement is not an appropriate punishment in light of the charges and actions of Brent Hanson,” the family’s statement added. “In our eyes the State attorney sided with the Defendant by giving him his life back while our family continues to grieve over the stolen lives of our loved ones with no peace in sight.”

On Dec. 15, Hanson walked into a Milbank, South Dakota police station and confessed to murdering his brother and sister-in-law at a home they lived at together. 

“They no longer live here,” Hanson told Chief Boyd VanVooren, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com.

Hanson admitted to killing his brother with a baseball bat and slashing Jessica Hanson to death with a machete days earlier. He told investigators he carried out the couple’s killing after he “snapped” and “totally flipped.” The South Dakota man then allegedly “made a motion with his thumb across his neck indicating a slashing motion.”

He looked after the couple’s 3-year-old son in the days following the couple’s murder, police said.

Hanson was taken into custody as authorities descended on the family’s property. Upon arrival, investigators located Jessica Hanson’s body under a blue tarp. Clyde Johnson’s corpse was discovered behind some drywall at the home. The couple’s 3-year-old son was also found unharmed at the residence. Jessica Hanson was was nine months pregnant at the time with the couple’s daughter, Annika.

Several months before the couple’s murder, Brent Hanson was facing assault charges for allegedly hitting his sister-in-law in the head over an altercation involving the slain woman’s dog, a separate probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com shows. He was charged with two counts of simple assault. 

Hanson is expected to enter his plea at a Grant County courthouse on Tuesday, per the Daily Beast.

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