SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman who was 17 when she planned the murder of her stepfather, which was carried out by her older brother, was re-sentenced Monday from life in prison without parole to 26 years to life behind bars.
Brae Hansen, now 25, was originally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in 2009 for the murder two years earlier of 63-year-old Timothy MacNeil, a criminal defense attorney in San Diego.
Subsequent to her original sentencing, mandatory life without parole sentences for defendants who were minors when the crime was committed were
ruled to be unconstitutional, as cruel and unusual punishments. The case was sent back to Superior Court Judge Frederic Link for re-sentencing.
"Miss Hansen was brutalized during her childhood," Link said, referring to the fact that the defendant was constantly beaten by her mother, who committed suicide months before MacNeil was killed.
Link also took note of Hansen's age at the time and said she has made positive strides to come to grips with what she did during her six years behind
Hansen's attorney, Troy Britt, argued that his client ran away from her mother and moved into a home where she was sexually abused by her brother.
Britt said Hansen is not "irreparably damaged" and could be rehabilitated and become a productive member of society some day.
Deputy District Attorney Jim Koerber, arguing to keep the sentence at life without parole, told the judge, "I can't imagine killing your own parent.
She's the one who set this whole thing in motion."
Rick MacNeil urged the judge to stick with the original sentence, saying, "They (Hansen and Nathaniel Gann) slaughtered my brother in cold blood."
Kim Bieda, who was the victim's girlfriend at the time, called Hansen an "evil sociopath" who knew exactly what she was doing when she led her
stepfather to his death in his own home in the Rolando neighborhood of San Diego.
For her part, Hansen apologized to her family and said she loved her stepfather the only way she knew how.
"No amount of time can repay the debt that I owe," Hansen said. "I can't blame this senseless crime on anyone but myself. I had the ability to
stop it, and I didn't."
Hansen initially told police that a masked intruder surprised her and MacNeil, and shot the victim four times, including a final bullet into the back of the head.
Officers treated her as a victim to begin with, but arrested her when her story fell apart.
Prosecutors said she was mad at her stepfather and wanted him dead, so she recruited her brother, Gann, to come from Arizona and help.
While Gann fired the shots, Hansen was considered by prosecutors to be more culpable. She even had a backup plan to inject MacNeil with household
chemicals if shooting him didn't work, Koerber said.
Gann, who was 18 when the murder was committed, was convicted by a separate jury and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.