Update October 5th: Michael and Christopher Hansen sentenced to one year each in jail for attacking their grandmother. Updated post HERE.
On August 21st, 2009, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that two punks who assaulted and urinated on their grandmother in her Salt Lake City home are going to get off with a misdemeanor wrist slap.
On July 2nd, Christopher Eugene Hansen, 22, and Michael Levi Hansen Jr., 20, forced their way into a bathroom in the home near 700 South and 300 West that they shared with their 66-year-old grandmother as she was taking a shower. Christopher Hansen threw bottles of shampoo and baby powder at the woman, punched her in the face and urinated on her. Michael Hansen shoved and hit the grandmother as she tried to leave the bathroom and urinated on her clothing. According to an original July 7th Deseret News story, Christopher also pushed his grandmother into the bathtub, causing her to fall and hit her head. She's damn lucky she didn't break her hip; broken hips in elderly people can have serious and even fatal consequences. Fortunately, the grandmother only incurred bruising on the victim's face and a cut on her head.
Originally they were charged with felony elder abuse. You can read their original booking record on MyLifeOfCrime. However, this charge was downgraded to misdemeanor elder abuse as a result of a plea bargain. So each brother is now charged with Class A misdemeanor elder abuse; Class B misdemeanor lewdness, and Class B misdemeanor domestic criminal mischief. Judge Robin Reese will pronounce sentence on October 5th. Both are currently held on $25,000 bail. Update October 5th: Both sentenced to one year in jail and one year's probation, along with other penalties.
An August 20th Deseret News story reveals that in court, the grandmother tearfully said she loved the young men, who paid little attention to her in court and earlier had rejected her request to send a letter to them in jail. Supposedly Michael Hansen is "grief-stricken" over his mother's recent death from a drug overdose, and believes some of the drugs may have been prescription medications for the grandmother.
They will do some time, though. The elder abuse charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and the Class B offenses have a punishment of up to 180 days in jail each. The two could be ordered to serve up to two years behind bars if the sentences are consecutive rather than concurrent. I do hope the sentences are consecutive; two years in jail would just about be right.
But there still is something wrong with the idea of not hanging a felony collar around these punks' necks. I would prefer for this to follow them around for a while - and affect their employability as well as their constitutional rights. Elder abuse is a growing problem in this country, and only stern punishment will bring it under control. On July 8th, Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder discussed elder abuse with the media; see KSL news video embedded below:
The public is outraged, as shown by the 83 comments posted to the story. Most can't understand why it was downgraded to a misdemeanor. Some question whether or not there's more to the story (they didn't read the Aug. 20 Deseret News report).