Gerot called ‘the other person’13 character witnesses called in Hansen murder trial
Thomas Hansen’s defense team has called 13 witnesses as of late Thursday morning, all of whom have testified to Hansen’s character. Hansen, 72, is charged with the first-degree murder of Sharon Kay Gerot, 54, on May 1, 2011.
Among the defense’s witnesses were Hansen’s four sons and his ex-wife. None of them testified about the shooting except Hansen’s son, Thomas Hansen Jr, the oldest of the four sons. Hansen Jr. was at 1355 Deer Run Drive after the shooting in which Gerot died. Hansen Jr. said on cross-examination that his father told him he shot Gerot.
Hansen’s ex-wife, Sandra Hansen, testified about the couple’s four decades of matrimony from 1958 to 2002. Sandra said Hansen was an honest person and that he never lied to her. She said he was never hostile nor abusive toward her or anyone else.
Sandra said Hansen collected guns but only as a hobby and not to fire them. She said he did not use them for hunting or target practice.
On cross-examination, Washington County Attorney Larry Brock asked Sandra if there were any altercations during her marriage to Hansen, and she said there were not. She said the reason for the divorce was that the two had grown apart and that they did not believe the marriage could be salvaged.
Sandra also said that Hansen told her he was seeing someone else, namely Gerot. Brock asked Sandra about a no-contact order Hansen had against her, to which defense attorney Dennis Cohen objected on the grounds it was prejudicial and beyond the scope of his direct examination.
At that point, the jury was asked to leave the room. Outside the presence of the jury, Brock continued his cross-examination of Sandra in an effort to show the relevance of the no-contact order. At the conclusion of the testimony, Judge Joel Yates said he would not allow the jury to hear the testimony regarding the no-contact order because it was prejudicial and because it was only a temporary no-contact order.
During that portion of the testimony outside of the presence of the jury, Sandra said she was served with a temporary restraining order in February 2002, which was after she and Hansen had separated but before their formal divorce later that year.
She spoke of an incident in which she went to the home at 1355 Deer Run Drive. She called Hansen to tell him she was coming over but he told her not to come. When she arrived, she found Hansen there with Gerot, whom she referred to as “the other person.” She told Gerot to leave the house because it was still Sandra’s house, too.
Hansen told Gerot she did not have to go, and that he would call the sheriff if Sandra didn’t leave. Sandra said she ultimately left the home to go to work. She testified that it was not a physical altercation.
Hansen obtained a temporary no-contact order against Sandra, which meant she had to relinquish the garage door opener and her keys to the house.
The other defense witnesses spoke about their relationships with Hansen and the kind of person he was. Hansen Jr. said his father was a good provider and has worked two jobs simultaneously for much of his life. He said his father treated his wife “as a queen.” He said Hansen instructed his sons to never strike a woman and that Hansen was never aggressive toward his wife.
Hansen’s son Michael Hansen said his father was a role model. He said he never saw his father fire a gun.
Patrick Hansen, another of the sons, testified that his father would “give you the shirt off his back.” He told the jury about an incident in which his dad rushed to save a man who tried to commit suicide with a shotgun.
Patrick said his father only collected guns but did not shoot them. He said he and his father were the only two in the family who don’t hunt.
Tim Hansen, the youngest son, said his father was never abusive to anyone and that he would describe his father as a non-violent person. He also testified that he did not believe his father hunted or shot guns at a shooting range.