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Man in shovel attack wants sentence reduced

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The man convicted of beating a high school student with a shovel in a crime that went unsolved for nearly a decade is asking an Albuquerque judge to reduce his 18-year prison sentence.

Justin Hansen

Justin Hansen, who is now housed at a prison in Hobbs, argues that his children are suffering the effects of his incarceration. His oldest daughter has been diagnosed with PTSD and is doing poorly in kindergarten, according to his request.

“The only visitation Mr. Hansen has with his children is through phone calls, which are distressing for the children because they ask their father to come pick them up and they do not understand why he cannot,” Hansen’s attorney Rose Osborne wrote in a motion to reconsider.

Hansen pleaded no contest to aggravated burglary and attempted murder in connection to a 2008 near-fatal attack on Brittani Marcell, a then-Cibola High School student left blind in one eye and deaf in one ear as a result of the beating.

Judge Cindy Leos acknowledged the impact Hansen’s incarceration would have on his kids before she handed down the maximum sentence allowed under his plea deal.

“One poor decision is going to change (Hansen’s) life forever, and it will change his children’s lives forever. They are innocent in this, as the Marcell family was,” Leos said at the July hearing.

Marcell’s youngest sibling was 12 when his sister was attacked in the family’s West Side home.

Hansen spent 14 days in jail following his arrest and was given credit for that time. But in the motion filed last week, he asks the judge to give him credit for the 371 days he spent on GPS monitoring after he was released from custody.

Osborne said she doesn’t plan to seek a specific sentence as she asks for a reduction.

“Any amount would be a benefit to him,” she said.

It is rare for a judge to grant such a motion, she said, but a defendant has the right to ask.

Michael Patrick, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors will file a response opposing Hansen’s request for a lighter sentence.

“The District Attorney’s Office will oppose any pre-sentence confinement credit other than the time he was actually in jail,” Patrick said.

A hearing on the motion is set for December.

The case will be featured in an episode of “On the Case with Paula Zahn,” which is set to air at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Investigation Discovery network.