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Murder charges dismissed against Alexandria man

Murder charges are being dismissed against a 34-year-old Alexandria man who was awaiting a new trial in the 2004 death of his 4-month-old daughter.

The Douglas County Attorney's Office filed a motion today, Friday, to dismiss the indictment that charged Michael Ray Hansen with murdering his daughter, Avry.

In a brief statement, Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson stated, "After careful consideration, the state no longer believes that it can prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Our deepest condolences remain with Avry's family who has endured unimaginable grief."

Hansen, who was found guilty in a jury trial in 2006 and sentenced to 14 and a half years in prison, was granted a new trial this past July. The Innocence Project of Minnesota took on Hansen's case. It enlisted the help of several physicians and medical examiners, who raised doubts that Avry's death was caused by a skull fracture. At the original trial, the jury heard that Avry died as a result of blunt force trauma to her head while she was in Hansen's care.

Hansen's attorney, Bridget Kearns Sabo, said that the defense planned to present convincing evidence that Avry likely died from sudden infant death syndrome.

Hansen was released from the Douglas County Jail on a bond posted last month, His trial had been set to begin September 26.

Watch for a follow-up story in Wednesday's Echo Press.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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