On October 5th, 2009, a 66-year-old Salt Lake City grandmother, now identified as Rita Avery, obtained some measure of justice when her attackers were sentenced to one year in jail followed by one year's probation. Her attackers - two of her grandsons, Michael and Christopher Hansen. Media stories published by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News and KSL Channel 5. KSL news video embedded below:
As first discussed in this previous post, on July 2nd, 22-year-old Christopher Eugene Hansen and 20-year-old Michael Levi Hansen Jr 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. 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. But in August, the brothers pleaded guilty to abuse of an elderly adult, a class A misdemeanor; and lewdness and criminal mischief, both class B misdemeanors. During the October 5th sentencing, the brothers gave "tearful apologies" to their grandmother and to the court for their actions. But the grandmother's sister-in-law, Joy Allen, thinks the apologies were a crock because the brothers had been victimizing their grandmother for years, including other instances of physical abuse and taking her money. Allen was hoping for prison time for the brothers. As for the grandmother, she has been willing to forgive her grandsons from the very beginning and seeks to start a new relationship with them.
Nevertheless, Third District Judge Robin Reese sentenced the pair to a year in jail, with 95 days of credit for time already served. The judge imposed 180 days of jail time for the other two offenses, but suspended the time behind bars. In addition, Reese also imposed a year of probation with orders to get mental health and substance abuse evaluations and whatever counseling is recommended. He ordered no contact with the grandmother until a probation officer permits it, directed the brothers to get either a high school diploma or GED, and required a fine and payment for restitution.
There were some mitigating circumstances, albeit very, very weak. The brothers were upset, confused and drunk at the time of the attack because their mother had just died of a drug overdose, and they believed their grandmother may have had something to do with the death. But this would not explain the allegations of longer-term abuse which pre-dated the death of their mother.
Justice was only partially served. These two scumbags deserved at least five years in prison.