The Justice Files: Mother recalls murdering her daughter

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) –  It was a botched murder-suicide.

According to Mary Hansen, she and her daughter planned to kill themselves. But in the end, the mother survived and the daughter died.

It was March 2012 when West Jordan police arrived to the Hansen home. A neighbor called 911.

“She said something to the effect of please call 911 I just shot myself and Virginia,” said a friend Julia Hoodman.

Hoodman spoke to ABC4 right after police arrived. 

18-year old Virginia died from a gunshot wound. Hansen then proceeded to shoot herself but missed and passed out.

Hansen, who is in prison recalled that moment.

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

Police found Hansen bleeding in her car after she made contact with a friend. A police report at the time indicated the injury was not “life-threatening.”  

Back then neighbors soon learned of the horrifying shooting at the Hansen home.

“I think it’s a terrible thing to have somebody killed that way, have something like that happen,” said Don Bailey. “It’s terrible and very unfortunate.”

Another friend told ABC4 that Hansen suffered from a mental illness and it impacted her daughter’s life.

“That’s was apparently why Virginia dropped out of school, was her inability to handle the stress,” a friend Ron Webb said in 2012.  

Two years later, Hansen pleaded guilty but mentally ill to manslaughter and firing a weapon.  

Tuesday, she appeared before the parole board. She has become eligible for parole and for the first time spoke publicly about killing her daughter.

Hansen: “Yes I ended up killing her.”

Hearing Officer: “Do you remember much about that day?”

Hansen: “No, not at all.”

Thursday, ABC4 will continue the story of Mary Hansen’s crime. She speaks extensively about what happened that day and there’s evidence in her testimony that she may still be mentally unstable.

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