The Justice Files: The voices

Justice Files

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It began right after her daughter was born.

And for 18-years, Mary Hansen said she has continued to hear voices in her head.  But she received treatment for the mental illness.

Instead, Hansen and her daughter lived their lives eventually moving from Texas to West Jordan.

“After she was born, I started to hear people, something at night,” Hansen recalled during a recent parole hearing.  “I’d lay down and I will hear talking and it made me feel hurtful.”

In March, 2012, the voices Hansen heard completely took over her life.

West Jordan police received a call from a neighbor who told police there was a shooting at the Hansen home.

When police arrived they found Hansen bleeding inside her car.  They learned she shot herself but it was not life threatening.

But inside the home they found her daughter, Virginia dead.  She had been shot in the head

“Yes, I ended up killing her,” Hansen admitted.

Back then she told police the two of them had a suicide pact and “did not want to live.”

She was charged with first degree murder but accepted a plea bargain.  In 2014, Hansen went to prison for manslaughter but mentally ill.   The law meant Hansen would get treatment at the Utah state hospital before returning to prison once she’s deemed fit.

Tuesday, Hansen appeared before the parole board after becoming eligible for parole and told the hearing officer of those “voices.”  

“They weren’t nice voices,” she said.  “They were very bad.”

Hansen said she needed protection against these voices.  She felt they were threatening her and her daughter.

“If I talked about it (to someone) something would take my daughter from me and then they would then do stuff to her,” Hansen testified.

For protection she bought a gun from a pawnshop and kept it at her home.

But after 18-years of hearing the voices, she gave in.  On the day of the murder, Hansen said she took Ambien and became confused as she entered her daughter’s room.

“She was sleeping and i just wanted to … I wanted it to be humane,” Hansen said.

She said her daughter also suffered from mental illness and both wanted to die.  After pulling the trigger on her daughter she approached her daughter one last time.

“I held up her hand,” she said. “I don’t know why it was okay at that point.  But there wasn’t any brain, you know.  I didn’t think that it was wrong.”

She said she then turned the gun on herself to carry out their desire to die.  But Hansen failed.

“I shot myself and (bullet) wouldn’t go in but I passed out and then I came to,” she said.  “I don’t know how long I was out and I came too.  I really didn’t know what I was doing.”

Hansen said she occasionally hears voices but  her medication help her control her life.  Hansen said she doesn’t have any family support but if she’s released would prefer to stay at a halfway house.

The Utah Board of Pardons will review her case to decide if she should be paroled.

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