CEDAR CITY – A 5th District judge admonished a Cedar City woman from the stand Tuesday for her involvement in a kidnapping and assault incident, calling the facts of the case “frightening.”
Judge Keith Barnes ordered Deanna Hanson to serve one to 15 years for aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony. He also handed down concurrent sentences of 0-5 years for possession of heroin and one year for assault. She was sentenced to the Utah State Prison.
When asked if she had anything to say to the court before her sentencing, the 48-year-old defendant referenced the incident with “sorry that that happened.” Hanson immediately followed the quasi-apology by professing her devotion to her husband James Dean Hanson, who was previously convicted last month for his role in the same incident.
“I do love my husband though,” she said.
Cedar City police arrested James and Deanna Hanson September 9, 2017 after the couple had kidnapped and assaulted a woman they believed owed them money for drugs.
According to the charging documents, police were called Aug. 29 by the victim who was being treated in St. George at Dixie Regional Medical Center.
Initially, the woman did not tell police who had victimized her out of fear of James Hanson who she knew had been previously charged with murder in California. The charge was reduced in a plea agreement to manslaughter. He also has multiple drug and alcohol-related offenses and prior convictions for assault with a firearm and kidnapping.
She eventually admitted to detectives the Hansons had taken her to their Cedar City residence, “punched her, kicked her, duct taped her to a chair and then released her the next morning.” She drove to St. George for medical treatment after leaving their home.
Investigators photographed the victim’s injuries, which were scratches on her body, a cut on the back of her head, a bruised and swollen face and visible duct-tape residue on her arms.
The victim told police James Hanson had wired her money to buy Heroin she could bring to him the next time she was in Cedar City. Instead, she said, she spent the money on things she needed as she was uncomfortable buying the drugs.
She later brought the Hansons a pair of speakers she was hoping would satisfy her debt, but when she arrived at the couple’s home the situation escalated.
During the incident, Deanna Hanson accused the victim of disrespecting her then 52-year-old husband and for that, punched her in the nose, which caused her to start bleeding.
The couple then taped the victim to a kitchen chair with her hands behind her back and carried her into the bathroom where she set her in the bathtub.
At some point, the victim cut herself free with a knife she had in her possession but when she started running the couple stopped her and began punching and kicking her. James Hanson also stomped on the back of her head.
The victim was then put back in the chair. The couple duct taped her head, face, neck, body, arms and legs. She was bleeding badly and constantly having to try to push the duct tape away from her mouth with her tongue, so she could breathe, Cedar City Police Detective Sgt. David Evans stated in his police report.
James Hanson made several threats he was going to kill the victim or sell her to a Mexican sex trafficker. “At one time,” she told police, “the couple began unrolling plastic.”
The following morning James Hanson finally released the victim telling her he didn’t want to hurt her but wanted her to know how it felt to be “dope sick.”
Deanna Hanson’s sentence came after her attorney, Troy Sundquist, vehemently advocated for his client arguing she had not been directly involved in the kidnapping and assault but was only physically present during the incident.
Sundquist maintained the defendant has a “codependent” relationship with her husband he said was evident in how she deferred to him throughout the entire case only agreeing to what he wanted.
Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett argued the victim implicated the defendant in the “kidnapping, the torture and the beating.”
“She left no mistake about it that the defendant was involved,” Garrett said.
The defense went as far as to propose that the victim may have “embellished” Deanna Hanson’s role in the incident, an idea not previously introduced to the court.
“Throughout this process there was information learned that there was another witness – and this never came out – that, that victim was going around embellishing things saying she – quote and unquote – screwed the Hansons and that it didn’t happen the way she played it out.” Sundquist said. “Originally we were wanting to take this trial because of that witness who could have come forward but because of some things with Mr. Hanson we are where we are now.”
Sundquist pleaded with the judge to not send his client to prison as recommended by the prosecution. He argued the court should follow the matrix under the presentence investigation report and asked she be allowed to serve 270 days in the Iron County Correctional Facility with credit for the 261 days already served.
“I don’t know that justice is being served there (in prison) to Ms. Hanson,” Sundquist said. “I think that justice has been served to the victim already through Mr. Hanson, through his sentencing. Whereas, he’s the one who did those things and admitted doing those things to now blame Ms. Hanson for the acts of her husband — that’s the part where it’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Barnes, who called the incident “brutal,” admonished the defendant from the bench and condemned the suggestion Deanna Hanson was not involved.
“The victim in this case was punched. She was kicked. She was duct taped to a chair,” Barnes said. “She had multiple injuries that she reported to the hospital. She had a cut on the back of her head, scratches on her body, bruised and swollen face, visible duct tape marks. Everything, as far as this court has received, is substantiated by what the hospital (staff), found when she was treated at the hospital. You’ve been convicted multiple times of felonies and this is the kind of frightening behavior, frightening facts that this court is not going to tolerate.”
James Hanson was convicted in this case on May 1 for kidnapping, a second-degree felony. He was sentenced to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison. The defendant was also simultaneously sentenced to a concurrent one to 15 years in another case dating back to 2016 when Iron County Sheriff deputies arrested him for squatting at a local residence. He was convicted for burglary of a dwelling, a second-degree felony.
If you or someone you know is a victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence the Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center is available 24-hours a day through their various crisis lines. For domestic violence, call 435-865-7443. For rape and sexual assault, call 435-867-6149. For the Mobile Crisis Team, call 435-233-5732.
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