Suspect in 2008 shovel attack not yet released from jail


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Critics were outraged earlier this week when District Court Judge Charles Brown said the man accused of attacking a teen with a shovel nine years ago should be released while he awaits trial.

However, days later, Justin Hansen is still locked up.

Judge Brown said that aside from the charges Hansen is now facing, there wasn’t evidence to show he’s too dangerous to be out.

“It’s a terrible case… but that’s not the issue before the court,” Judge Brown said.

He ruled in a hearing on Tuesday and filed the official order in court on Friday to allow Hansen out of jail while he awaits trial for the 2008 attempted murder of Brittani Marcell.

Brittani, alongside her mother Diane, faced the accused attacker in court this week.

They have since gone back to their home out of state, where they say they moved to out of fear after the beating.

“I was glad to get out of there. I feel more at ease here,” Diane said.

After nearly nine years, Albuquerque Police arrested Hansen on new DNA evidence.

He is accused of attacking Brittani with a shovel when she was 17 in her northwest Albuquerque home.

The attack left Brittani with severe memory loss, but she said she remembered Hansen’s name last year. That led police to test his DNA.

Brittani said Hansen used to visit her at work at Cottonwood Mall.

“I’d rather him stay behind bars because I feel he’s still a danger to society,” Diane said.

Judge Brown didn’t agree, saying Hansen’s innocent until proven guilty in this case and that other allegations the State brought up as evidence were unsubstantiated.

Instead, the judge set conditions of Hansen’s release for the public’s safety.

However, Hansen is still behind bars because, a District Court spokesperson said, they are still working to meet the judge’s requirements although she wouldn’t specify which ones.

KRQE News 13 does know, earlier this week the spokesperson said Pre-Trial Services was short on ankle monitors and Hansen is supposed to be on Pre-Trial supervision with a GPS ankle monitor.

Before release, Pre-Trial Services also has to approve a place for Hansen to stay and people, like family members, to accompany him wherever he goes.

Whatever the reason, Diane said she and Brittani are grateful for the delay following a disappointing decision from the judge.

“She’s still upset, but she knows in her heart that the truth will come out,” Diane said of her daughter.

KRQE News 13 reached out to Hansen’s family as well.

His father said he doesn’t know when Justin may be released, that the family is just waiting at this point.

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