Video shows how hypnosis, DNA cracked the Brittani Marcell case

KRQE News 13 is getting a rare, inside look into how detectives cracked open the cold case beating of a teenager inside her home. 

“He’s hurting me,” said Brittani Marcell in the video of a doctor hypnotizing her. 

She was shaking in her seat, reliving a horrible attack in 2008 that left her with brain damage.

At the time, Marcell was a 17-year-old student at Cibola High School. 

“Did he say anything?” asked the doctor. Britanni replied, “Hmm-mm.” 

Trying to remember who beat her with a shovel inside her westside home, Marcell went under hypnosis in 2014. Six years had gone by since she was nearly killed, and the only solid piece of evidence was a single drop of blood on the shattered glass that the attacker had left behind as he escaped through a window.

“There were a lot of difficulties with the case both in the investigation, ultimate prosecution brought in in large part that there wasn’t a suspect that was identified very quickly,” said David Waymire. 

Waymire is a prosecutor for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. He said that’s why a new detective on the case suggested different techniques like hypnosis, and a new technology that would use the DNA to create a snapshot of the suspect. 

“The hypnosis seemed to maybe lead to some memory recall,” said Waymire. 

However, it took two years from that initial hypnosis for Brittani to finally remember the key that would unlock everything. 

“Ultimately in the fall of 2016 was when Brittani remembered the name of Justin Hansen,” said Waymire. 

Once they had Hansen’s name, Waymire said everything started coming together. Before the attack, Hansen had been spotted visiting Brittani at the Cottonwood Mall where she worked, and his number was in her cell phone. 

“But there had been no call activity, no text activity or anything that could ever be located,” he said. 

The new technology took the DNA sample and produced trait predictions for the suspect, including what color eyes and hair he had.

The image looked strikingly like Justin Hansen. 

When he wouldn’t give a DNA sample, police collected it from a McDonald’s cup in the trash.

In the newly released video of Hansen just after his arrest in 2017, a detective says to him, “Look at her Justin! You did this to her. He replied, “No, I didn’t do that.” 

The detective then told Hansen his DNA was a 100 percent match. 

Nearly ten years later, he was arrested but has always denied it. 

“You can deny it all you want, I know it’s you now,” said the detective in the video. 

To this day, even though Hansen has taken a plea deal, there’s still one mystery left in the case.

“The motive is not really clear, certainly nothing that Justin Hansen has ever said or Brittani Marcell has been able to remember has really told us much about the motive,” said Waymire.

Hansen plead no contest to attempted murder. Waymire said the District Attorney’s office agreed to a plea deal over worries a jury might convict him on less time, or that he would even be acquitted. 

Hansen faces 18 years when he’s sentenced next month. 

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