MILBANK, S.D. — What began as a cordial visit to exchange Christmas cards turned into a confession from an accused murderer when he told the local police chief, “I snapped,” according to court documents.
Brent Hanson of Milbank, South Dakota was charged Dec. 15 with the murders of his brother, Clyde Hanson; his sister-in-law, Jessica; and her unborn child, reported KELO-TV.
Details contained in the statement of probable cause obtained by the news outlet paint a violent scene. Hanson, 57, fatally attacked his family members with a machete and a baseball bat.
The horrific crime came to light when the accused killer met with Milbank Police Chief Boyd VanVooren around 9:10 a.m. Dec. 15 at the police department, New York Post reported.
The chief previously arranged the meeting for the two men to exchange “a Christmas card from a church.”
However, during the encounter, VanVooren asked Hanson about “any further issues” with two people who are identified in the court documents as “victim #1” and “victim #2,” but who are identified by KELO-TV as Clyde and Jessica.
Hanson replied, “They no longer live here,” documents say.
Within minutes of the conversation at approximately 9:45 a.m., VanVooren heard a police radio call for a welfare check at the victims’ address. A food delivery worker reported seeing what she thought was blood on the door, Fox News reported.
VanVooren prodded Hanson about his brother’s location “and if there was blood on his door.”
“I snapped,” Hanson reportedly replied, as he “made a motion with his thumb across his neck indicating a ‘slashing motion.’”
The chief repeated the inquiry and Hanson said for the second time, “I snapped.”
“I killed them on Sunday,” he admitted, according to the court document, KELO-TV reported.
The confession contained details of Hanson finding his brother home alone when “he went up there with a baseball bat and wacked [his brother] in the head enough times so [he] was gone.”
Jessica Hanson was not home at the time. When the woman — who was nine months pregnant — returned home Monday morning, Hanson said, he “wacked [her] in the head with a machete, and that was the end of her,” according to the statement of probable cause.
“Brent said he totally flipped,” the document further alleges.
According to the Aberdeen American News, the brothers have joint ownership of the residential property where they both reside in separate spaces.
Brent Hanson was arrested in July following a fight with the couple. He was subsequently charged with misdemeanor assault and domestic violence. The argument was apparently over the care of Jessica’s dog.
After the murders occurred on Dec. 12 and 13, Hanson took the couple’s 3-year-old child, and told the police chief, “the child was safe and that he fed the child,” according to court documents.
Responding officers searched the home just after 10:05 a.m. on Dec. 15 and discovered both bodies in a portion of the home that was “undone.” Clyde’s body was found behind some sheetrock, while Jessica’s was located under a blue tarp, the Post reported.
Hanson has been charged with three counts each of first- and second-degree murder. He was booked on a $5 million cash bond.