Convicted Alexandria child killer gets new trialAn Alexandria man who was convicted of killing his 4-month-old daughter in 2004 is getting a new trial.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
An Alexandria man who was convicted of killing his 4-month-old daughter in 2004 is getting a new trial.
Michael Hansen, now 34, was found guilty in Douglas County District Court after a jury trial five years ago. He was sentenced to 14 and a half years in prison.
He was convicted of all six charges he faced – three counts of murder in the second degree, one count of murder in the third degree and two counts of manslaughter in connection with the death of his daughter, Avryonna “Avry” Lynn Hansen.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in 2008.
Throughout his case, Hansen maintained his innocence, turning down a plea bargain and saying that he never harmed his daughter.
Hansen contacted the Innocence Project a couple of years ago and it decided to take on the case. Its lawyers believe that a skull fracture that caused Avry’s death happened several days before she died and that the cause of death was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
A judge granted Hansen a new trial earlier this month. The Innocence Project requested that Hansen be released on bail while his case is being retried.
On Wednesday, a pre-trial hearing was held at the Douglas County Courthouse where Judge Ann Carrott set Hansen’s bail at $250,000 cash.
There will be an updated bail study conducted soon. Meanwhile, Hansen remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail after serving six years in prison.
The incident took place in the early morning hours of May 2, 2004 while Hansen was staying with friends at their Alexandria home.
After waking up and finding his daughter unresponsive, Hansen told friends to call 911.
Efforts to revive Avry failed. She was pronounced dead at the Douglas County Hospital shortly after an ambulance brought her in.
An autopsy performed at the hospital indicated Avry’s skull was fractured. A second autopsy conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the skull fracture and listed the cause of death as a homicide.
Hansen’s attorneys argued the fracture could have happened a week prior to her death when the baby, who was in her carseat, fell from a shopping cart.
The trial lasted 10 days. A 12-member jury returned its guilty verdict after eight hours of deliberation.
The Innocence Project, which has taken on the Michael Hansen murder case, is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.