Timid, at times inaudible, Kelly Hansen told a Philadelphia jury today that her brother Glenn confided in 2005 that he killed girlfriend Taneke Daniels - and threatened to do the same to her if she told anyone.
Hansen, 41, spent almost three hours on the witness stand struggling both to tell her story - and avoid telling it - as her 47-year-old brother stared at her from across the Criminal Justice Center courtroom.
During her first half-hour on the witness stand, Hansen haltingly responded to questions from Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman. Hansen's face reddened, she paused for as long as 30 seconds before answering and often squeezed her eyes tight as if trying to blot something from her vision.
"Is there some other reason you're nervous besides testifying in court?" Fairman asked.
"My brother, all the intimidation," replied Hansen.
After a recess in which the jury was taken from court, Fairman outlined to Common Pleas Court Judge Shelley Robins New what she said were a series of threats made against Kelly Hansen by her brother to try to scare her from testifying.
When the jury returned, New permitted Fairman to play in court a 2006 audio tape Kelly Hansen made of a phone message left by her brother.
"You need to shut the [expletive] up about what you know about this case," Glenn Hansen's angry, reedy voice says on the tape. "You're just [expletive] up in all kinds of ways."
Kelly Hansen said her brother told him he killed Daniels, 27, the mother of three children, on May 12, 2005, to stop her from testifying against him at a domestic abuse hearing set for 11 days later.
Hansen said her brother was on probation for a drunk-driving charge and worried that Daniels' testimony would send him to prison.
"Are you crazy? Over abuse charges?" Hansen said she replied.
Hansen also told of accompanying her brother on two trips to the Pine Barrens in Burlington County where he buried Daniels in a shallow grave.
"He said he needed to put pine cones at the tree," Hansen testified, using her brother's euphemism for Daniels' grave site.
But that is what he did, Hansen said, explaining to her later that he feared the odor of Daniels' decomposing body would attract animals.
Construction workers taking a break about 11:30 a.m. on April 24, 2006 noticed a patch of strong-smelling pinecone covered ground about two miles from Route 72 in the Brendan T. Bryne State Forest in Woodland Township, Burlington County.
One worker noticed a white painter's tarp protruding from the ground and part of a human skull partly covered with a plastic Wal-Mart shopping bag.