Woman sentenced to seven years for backing over lover

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Angelia Hanson

A Cape Girardeau County circuit judge on Monday sentenced Angelia Hanson to seven years in prison for her role in an accident that killed the woman she described as "my love, my strength, my motivation."

Hanson, 30, was backing a Dodge Durango out of her driveway July 19 when she struck her longtime girlfriend, Jody Lane, 43, dragging her several feet before realizing she had hit her, according to a probable-cause statement filed in the case.

Hanson pleaded guilty last month to first-degree involuntary manslaughter, telling Judge William Syler she didn't want to put anybody else through any more pain.

In court Monday, Hanson's attorney, assistant public defender Patti Tucka, asked for leniency.

"Jody and Angelia were a couple, and as couples do, they argued, and that morning they argued, and that argument led to some careless and reckless behavior on the part of Angelia," Tucka said. "This is a woman who is devastated by what happened that day when she lost Jody Lane, her partner, her friend. This was careless. It was not intentional."

During a preliminary hearing in August, officer David Valentine of the Cape Girardeau Police Department testified Hanson had told him she and Lane were arguing because they were running late to work.

Hanson told Valentine that Lane had said she was going back into the house, so she didn't realize Lane was behind the vehicle when she "floored it" out of their driveway at 612 N. Fountain St., Valentine said.

"She told me she thought she'd run over the curb," he said at the

preliminary hearing.

Tucka said two police videos show how devastated Hanson was after the accident.

"She broke down. She cried; she wailed; she was barely able to go on," she said.

"She will live with this every day of her life, Judge," Tucka said, suggesting probation would be more appropriate than prison time.

Assistant prosecuting attorney Jack Koester acknowledged Hanson had no criminal intent but said her history, which includes several drug and alcohol-related charges and a 2005 assault on a law enforcement officer, suggests a pattern of reckless behavior that led him to recommend a seven-year prison term -- the maximum penalty for involuntary manslaughter.

"The defendant allowed her emotions to get the better of her in this situation, and unfortunately, her carelessness resulted in the death of another person -- a person who was very close to this defendant," Koester said.

Hanson told Syler she works as a caretaker for a stroke victim and an Alzheimer's patient, volunteers through her church and took care of Lane after a serious spinal injury a few years ago.

"This reckless accident has torn my life and heart out. ... This accident was a permanent tragedy which I can never mend," she said.

In sentencing Hanson to seven years, Syler cited her criminal record and noted that she has been placed on probation in the past, only to have it revoked later.

Cynthia Hanson, who identified herself as Angelia Hanson's older sister, contacted the Southeast Missourian on Monday to discuss the case and Angelia Hanson's relationship with Lane.

"She loved that woman more than anything in this world. They were talking about getting married and things of that nature. ... They seriously loved each other. They were soul mates," Cynthia Hanson said. "Jody's kids were like Angelia's kids. Angelia didn't have any children, but she counted Jody's children as her own."

Cynthia Hanson said she and her sister had a difficult childhood, with a distant father and a mother who struggled with substance abuse issues.

"We ran wild," she said.

Angelia Hanson suffered from bipolar disorder and left home at 15 after coming out as a lesbian, Cynthia Hanson said.

"I couldn't imagine what her mind frame was when she had to explain to our family that she preferred women over men," she said. "I think that messed with her mind a little bit more when people didn't accept her for who she was."

Cynthia Hanson said her sister and father had been working to repair their relationship, but she and her parents live on the West Coast and had only infrequent contact with Angelia Hanson.

The family just learned of Lane's death and Angelia Hanson's arrest on Sunday and contacted Tucka to relay a message to her, Cynthia Hanson said.

"The whole family is just completely devastated," she said. "Just heartbroken."

Cynthia Hanson described her sister as "a very caring person" whose circumstances led her to make mistakes.

"She just didn't have that chance in life that she deserved," she said.

epriddy@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

612 N. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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