Judge Considers Bond In New Homicide Trial

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Douglas County District Court judge says she needs more time to decide whether a man convicted in 2006 of killing his infant daughter should be released while he waits for his new trial.

The Innocence Project of Minnesota has been working to exonerate Michael Hanson, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2004 death of his 3-month-old daughter, Avryonna Hansen. Two medical examiners originally found the baby suffered a skull fracture before she died. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Hansen contacted the Innocence Project two years ago, asking for legal help. The non-profit organization agreed to take Hansen’s case and he was granted a new trial earlier this month. Innocence Project attorney Julie Jonas said Hanson’s conviction has harmed his family.

“Of course, his two other daughters think he’s been in prison for the last six years for murdering their sister,” Jonas said. “And it’s ripped the family apart.”

Innocence Project attorneys don’t dispute the baby’s skull was fractured, but say the injury occurred six days before her death when she was with her mother in a Walmart parking lot. The baby flipped out of a shopping cart while still in her car seat and landed on the pavement, they said.

Jonas said three medical examiners and two physicians reviewed the case and found the skull fracture was healing at the time Avryonna died and that there were no signs of brain trauma. None of the medical examiners who reviewed the case believed the death was a homicide.

“Frankly, we were able to prove in a series of hearings that the medical examiner that called this a homicide was simply wrong,” Jonas said. The Innocence Project said Avryonna likely died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Judge Ann Carrott declined to set bail for Hansen at a hearing Wednesday afternoon, saying she needed more time to review the case.

Minnesota Public Radio News says a new hearing could be scheduled as early as next week.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. The Architect says:

    So then what caused the skull fractures days before her death? Why would anybody argue SIDS when a 3 month old has a shattered head?

  2. em0886 says:

    Exactly….this is strange.

  3. Brian says:

    @The Architect, your questions would probably be answered if you read about the case. I’m guessing they wouldn’t grant an appeal unless there was new evidence that could exonerate him.

    1. The Architect says:

      One might anticipate that being part the story if that were true.

  4. Gary says:

    IT HELPS IF U LRN 2 REED…

    “Innocence Project attorneys don’t dispute the baby’s skull was fractured, but say the injury occurred six days before her death when she was with her mother in a Walmart parking lot. The baby flipped out of a shopping cart while still in her car seat and landed on the pavement, they said.”

    1. The Architect says:

      That was not in the article I commented on, Gary.

      WCCO likes to continually correct the bad information in their news stories, and I use the term “news” lightly.

    2. The Architect says:

      And even if the baby DID fall on its head in a Wal-Mart parking lot, that doesn’t cause SIDS 6 days later.

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