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Family Opposes ‘Brash’ Plea Deal for South Dakota Man Who Allegedly Murdered His Brother and Pregnant Sister-in-Law

Brent M. Hanson

Brent M. Hanson

It looks like a South Dakota man will plead guilty to murdering his brother and pregnant sister-in-law. The family, however, opposes it. Authorities have said that Brent M. Hanson beat his brother Clyde Hanson to death with a baseball bat and killed Jessica Hanson with a machete, according to the probable cause affidavit obtained by KELO. Jessica was approximately 9 months pregnant at the time, law enforcement said.  Family identified the unborn child as daughter Annika 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 obtained by The Daily Beast. “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.”

As part of the reported plea deal, Brent Hanson will face life in prison and dodge the death penalty. The family said they were told that a juror who did not agree with the death penalty might end the case in a mistrial.

“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,” family said. “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.”

The plea agreement is set to be formalized on Tuesday. The Grant County State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment on the family’s statement opposing the plea deal.

As previously reported, Brent shared ownership of a home with his brother Clyde. Clyde and Jessica lived in the second story. Brent had the basement. The relationship between Brent and the others soured by July 2021, when Jessica called the cops on him for allegedly shoving and hitting her. She said she had previously gone to a mental health facility to get treated for depression. Brent agreed to care for her dog, but when she returned just less than two weeks later, Brent allegedly  said he took the canine to a farm and he refused to tell her where. He allegedly said he didn’t want to have to take care of her dog anymore. According to officers, Jessica said she would get the police involved. From here, Brent allegedly attacked her. Jessica said that this was not normal behavior for him, officers said.

At the time, she said she was four months pregnant. Law enforcement said that  she was approximately 9 months pregnant when she died the following December.

“I snapped,” Brent Hanson allegedly told Police Chief Brent VanVooren.

Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.

[Image via South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation]

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