Mother of cold case suspect believes he's innocent
March 22, 2018 10:20 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Investigators say Justin Hansen beat Cibola High School student Brittani Marcell with a shovel in 2008. Marcell's family has been vocal since his arrest, but Hansen's family has remained silent.
In her first public interview, Hansen's mom Doreen Shoemaker told KOB she believes her son is innocent but has already been judged by the public before the case has even gone to trial.
"If he is found not guilty, his life has still been ruined and the Marcell family have no justice because the person who still did this is out there,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker stands by her son. Hansen was arrested in July 2017 after investigators say his DNA was linked to a 2008 crime scene involving the vicious attack of Marcell, who was 17 at the time.
They never saw the arrest coming despite detectives reaching out about six months prior, Shoemaker said. Officials contacted them after Marcell, who has no memory of the 2008 attack at her home, started remembering the name "Justin Hansen" from around the time it happened. She also told investigators he used to visit her at her job at Cottonwood Mall.
"We can't believe we're still here," Shoemaker said. "My son has never matched the description of the perpetrator that the eyewitness saw. He's you know, innocent. He didn't do this."
Hansen's DNA was not linked to the alleged weapon: a shovel or a knife reportedly used to threaten Brittani's mom who walked in on the attack at the family's home. However, investigators say his DNA was found at the scene; blood on glass from a broken window.
"He may think he's innocent, but like I said DNA doesn't lie," Marcell said shortly after Hansen’s arrest last summer.
Marcell's sister Alicia added, "I know they were trying to discount it, but I'm not worried because it's DNA. It's a DNA match."
Marcell's family has been vocal throughout court proceedings, believing investigators have the man they've wondered about for nearly 10 years. But Shoemaker doesn't believe that drop of blood is enough.
"The thing I have to say about that is they got to test it," Shoemaker said. "It'd be like somebody coming up to you and saying you know what we're arresting you because your fingerprints or your blood was caught here, your DNA. Are you just going to say, 'OK, well, then I must be guilty' even though you know you're innocent? We have to have our experts you know. We need to test that. We can't take their word for it. That their tests were conclusive that he matched the backyard."
Shoemaker believes the Marcells do need justice, adding “It's not an us-against-them in any way shape or form."
But she wants the same justice for her son.
"In so many ways, his life is already ruined," she said. "We'd like to think he can go on with his life, but it's going to take a long time.”
JUDGE: LARGE JURY POOL NEEDED BEFORE CHANGE-OF-VENUE DECISION
In court on Thursday, a judge decided not to rule at this time on a change-of-venue motion in the case.
Hansen's defense has requested to move the trial set to begin this April in a Bernalillo County courtroom, but Judge Cindy Leos determined there needs to be a large jury pool with an extensive questionnaire before that decision can be made.
Also Thursday, the judge rejected the defense motion to throw out the DNA evidence. Court documents filed by the defense last month show the Albuquerque Police Department destroyed crucial evidence, including the shovel. In those documents, the defense also claimed the knife used in the attack has since gone missing.
APD did acknowledge the destruction of some of the evidence in the case, including the shovel and knife.
Both Marcell's sisters and Hansen's family said they were pleased with the judge's rulings on several motions heard today. A trial date is currently set for the end of April.
~KOB.com Web Staff
Updated: March 22, 2018 10:20 PM
Created: March 22, 2018 07:24 AM
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