Hansen Trial Starts

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Opening statements were presented and witnesses testified against 63-year-old George Hansen. Hansen is on trial for the murder of 69-year-old Mary Ann Clibbery.

Clibbery and Hansen co-owned Al Zullo's. Clibbery was found on December 22nd, 2004 beaten to death and lying in a pool of blood at the business. Prosecutor Margaret O’Connor stated in her opening arguments that "This is a case about cowardly and deadly rage." Defense Attorney Frank Perri told the jurors that "There's nothing in this for him (Hansen) to do this."

Prosecutor Margie O'Connor's opening statements focused on Mother Nature.
O'Connor pointed out that it was nature's way that helped solve the case. What she' is talking about is the fact that the frozen Rock River kept that bag of evidence from falling through the cracks.

Defense Attorney Frank Perri told jurors that "the two worked to make a living together.” Prosecutors stated in court that Hansen beat Mary Ann to death with a hammer on December 21st, 2004. She was found the next day by Randy Baxter who was the first to arrive at the business. One of the most chilling accounts of the actual murder scene came from Baxter. Baxter was the worker who found Mary Ann Clibbery. It was hard for him to recall the day that he and George Hansen walked towards their offices and saw her body. Prosecutor Margie O'Connor says his testimony was strong.

O’Connor states, “The two were friends. He still suffers from the trauma of seeing her body so brutally beaten."

Hansen's arrest came after a bag of evidence was found in the middle of the frozen Rock River. But the defense laid out that George Hansen never committed homicide. Assistant Public Defender Frank Perri told jurors that Hansen did go back to the business the night of the murder, found Mary Ann in a pool of blood and freaked out. Perri says there is no hiding that the hammer, gloves and sweater found in that bag of evidence were Hansen's.

Amid the other witnesses already called to the stand, Mary Ann's brother Louis Romain, Kenneth O'Dell with the Harlem-Roscoe fire department, and the man who found the prosecutor’s most important evidence. Just a day after Mary Ann’s body was found a large black plastic bag in the middle of the frozen Rock River was located. That bag was had a brown sweater and black gloves both stained with blood that allegedly Hansen was wearing when he killed Clibbery. Also inside the bag was Mary Ann's purse, her receipts, and a blood covered hammer. Prosecutor O'Connor says so far each witness has added more background for the jury.

O'Connor stated, “Each witness is important to case and that's why we are calling them. Each one has their own importance."

Assistant Public Defender Frank Perri did not want to make any comments until the case is resolved. Also Mary Ann's family did not have anything to say. The family plans on being in court daily listening and hoping that the jurors chose to charge George Hansen with first degree murder.

The jury is made up of seven women and five males. There are also four alternates. There is no word on how many witnesses prosecutors intend on calling to the stand.


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