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APD arrests man in 2008 cold case beating that left Cibola student in coma

Brittani Marcell, in a photograph dated July 4, 2008.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Some nine years after a Cibola High School senior was beaten nearly to death with a shovel in her West Side home, Albuquerque police have made an arrest in the case.

Police say in September 2008, Brittani Marcell, then 18, had gone home for lunch when Justin Hansen, 33, brutally attacked her.

Hansen was arrested Wednesday. He is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping and other charges, according to police.

In a late Wednesday night news conference, Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Simon Drobik said the community is safer and Marcell’s family can breathe a sigh of relief knowing Hansen is in custody.

“The important thing is he is off the streets,” Drobik said. “We want to let Brittani and her family know that he’s in custody and he won’t be terrorizing anybody in Albuquerque anymore and he won’t be terrorizing Brittani.”

He said the arrest was made using DNA evidence, but the warrant is sealed and he couldn’t give any more details about the investigation. He wouldn’t say why they believe Hansen had beaten Marcell.

Drobik said Hansen had gotten a lawyer and would not talk with detectives.

Hansen has no criminal history in New Mexico, online court records show.

On Sept. 11, 2008, Marcell’s mother had come home to meet her daughter for lunch and instead found her bloodied and lying in the entryway. She said the attacker was still at the house but ran away when he saw her.

Marcell was in a coma for weeks before making a slow recovery.

In the years following the attack, America’s Most Wanted profiled the case and APD released composite sketches of the assailant as Marcell began to remember more about what happened.

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