Man paroled for murder conviction sent back to prison for fleeing police.

September 7, 2021

Hansen

Man paroled for murder conviction sent back to prison for fleeing police.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

LUDINGTON — A 65-year-old Manistee man who had served 45 years in prison for a conviction of second-degree murder was sentenced to 14 months to 15 years in prison in 51st Circuit Court Tuesday, Sept. 7.

A jury found Chris Bernard Hansen guilty of fleeing a police officer and reckless driving but dismissed the more serious charges of three felony counts of assault with a dangerous weapon during a trial last July.

Hansen was captured by Mason County sheriff’s deputies following a high-speed chase down Ludington Avenue during the early morning hours of June 23, 2020. He has been lodged in the Mason County Jail since the incident.

Hansen, who was recently paroled, was accused of ramming a vehicle in the Meijer parking lot on US 10 several times before fleeing from police.

Hansen faced three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (a vehicle), which is a four-year felony. This is related to the three occupants in the vehicle. The charges he was found guilty of are less serious. Fourth-degree fleeing and eluding a police officer is a two-year felony, and reckless driving is a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor charges of failure to stop at the scene of a traffic crash and violation of restricted driver’s license were dismissed by 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan K. Sniegowski prior to the jury’s deliberation.

A fourth-offense habitual offender notice elevated the maximum penalty for the fleeing and eluding conviction to 15 years in prison. Hansen was initially facing serving the rest of his life in prison due to the other charges of which he was ultimately acquitted.

Hansen still faces parole violation sanctions stemming from the incident.

He was initially sentenced to life in prison for a crime that occurred when he was 16 years old. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole Feb. 4, 1980. The offense occurred Aug. 21, 1973 in Saint Clair County, according to Michigan Department of Corrections data.

The United States Supreme Court has since ruled that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles are unconstitutional. This has meant that the more than 360 so-called juvenile lifers in Michigan — the second-highest total in the nation — were eligible for resentencing. Hansen was among those 360 juvenile lifers. After serving 45 years in prison, he was paroled April 25, 2019.

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