Hansen trial moved to JuneFirst-degree murder trial set to begin June 12
Washington County Attorney Larry Brock’s office reported today that the first-degree murder trial for Thomas Lee Hansen, 70, of Riverside, that was set to begin April 17 has been continued to June 12 at the request of Hansen and his attorney John Robertson of the State Public Defender’s Office.
According to Robertson’s motion, his office is involved in seven Class A felony cases, including another murder trial that is set for April 17 that can’t be continued. A pretrial conference will be held June 1.
Hansen was arrested May 1, 2011, and charged with murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, in connection with the death of Sharon Kay Gerot, 54, of Riverside. In July 2011, he entered a plea of not guilty.
Gerot was pronounced dead at about 4 p.m. May 1. The results of an autopsy conducted by the State Medical Examiner’s Office at the University of Iowa Hospital show that Gerot’s death was the result of a single gunshot wound to the head. Brock said that he believed the caliber of the bullet was .40-caliber.
According to court records, the Washington County Safety Center received a call at 3:43 p.m. Sunday from a man who identified himself as Todd Hahn. Hahn told dispatch that he witnessed a female subject who had been shot and that a male subject told him that he shot the subject at 1355 Deer Run Drive, just south of Riverside. Law enforcement and an ambulance found a female body lying outside of the residence. Law enforcement also made contact with Hansen at that time.
The documents said Hansen made statements to law enforcement indicating he had shot Gerot. He said he and Gerot had been arguing “on and off” that day. Shortly before the incident, Gerot left the residence to work in the yard. Hansen went into the three-car garage attached to the house, where he retrieved a semiautomatic handgun. Hansen removed the gun from a holster and chambered the weapon. He returned to the residence through the kitchen and approached a glass door leading to the back yard. The document said that Hansen had fired the gun in Gerot’s direction and a bullet had struck and killed her.
Brock said that he intends to personally prosecute the case, although he has never prosecuted a murder case before.
First-degree murder is a Class A felony, punishable by life in prison.