Justin Hansen learned his fate Wednesday after pleading guilty to attacking a teenage girl with a shovel.
He was sentenced to the maximum, 18 years for beating the Cibola High school student with a shovel in her home back in 2008.
The sentencing hearing lasted three and a half hours.
Brittani Marcell’s family and Justin Hansen’s former friends took turns to try and convince the judge to give him the max.
“He has a darkness in him. I’ve seen that darkness, and it’s not a matter of if with him, it’s a matter of when,” said an old friend of Justin Hansen.
The state first spoke and went through a long list of investigations into Hansen over the years all involving young women. Most of the girls are around the age of 17, the same age Brittani was when she was ambushed by Hansen in her home.
Prosecutor David Waymire said since Justin became a suspect in the case, people came forward saying he would hang out at tanning salons and gyms flirting with girls and making them uncomfortable.
It got so bad, that he says Hansen’s memberships were withdrawn.
As the victim impact statements began, Brittani’s mother Diane, who walked in on the attack in their home in September of 2008, was the first to speak. She asked Judge Cindy Leos to put herself in the family’s shoes.
All of Brittani’s siblings spoke as well, sharing their stories of how the horrific events of that day shattered their lives.
The attack happened on September 11, 2008, when Brittani, a Cibola High senior went home to meet her mother for lunch.
When she got there she was beaten with a shovel. The attacker took off when Brittani’s mother came home but left behind blood when he broke a window to make his escape.
That DNA came back to haunt Hansen when Marcell remembered his name after undergoing hypnosis.
Investigators followed Hansen to a McDonald’s and collected his soda cup from the garbage to get a DNA match to blood at the crime scene.
Although he was finally caught, Brittani’s life has been changed forever.
“You know, you forgive and you move on is what it is. As long as he’s caught and he serves for the time for whatever he did, I’m okay with that,” said Brittani.
Hansen has never admitted to beating Brittani, but in April he pleaded no contest to the crime.
Hansen’s family defended him, saying he’s a wonderful man and father.
Hansen also addressed the court, never admitting his crime, as Brittani sat directly behind him.
He got emotional when he read messages addressed to his four kids, telling them to do well in school and to remember him and the moments they’ve had together.
Judge Cindy Leos remarked the evidence against him was damning, and that his tears in court Wednesday were only tears of regret for making a bad decision.
Hansen was taken into immediate custody.
There has never been a known motive for the attack. Marcell, who was 17 at the time of the beating, and Hansen, who was 24, knew each other from their jobs at Cottonwood Mall.
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