A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury will resume deliberations Tuesday in the murder trial of Glenn Hansen, the Overbrook man accused of smothering his girlfriend in 2005 and burying her in New Jersey's Pine Barrens.
The 12 jurors deliberated two hours Monday afternoon after the trial had come to a rapid conclusion. Testimony ended earlier in the day - the fourth of the trial - with closing arguments by Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman and defense attorney Timothy J. Tarpey.
Hansen, 47, is charged with murder and abuse of a corpse in the death of Taneke Daniels, 27. Authorities say he killed her to stop her from testifying against him in a domestic-abuse hearing.
Hansen's attorneys argued that Daniels died of a drug overdose after a three-day binge on alcohol and cocaine with Hansen, and that he panicked and secretly buried her.
Hansen did not testify in his defense.
Tarpey and cocounsel Michael P. Parkinson presented one defense witness: forensic pathologist Paul J. Hoyer.
Hoyer contradicted the prosecution's forensic pathologist, saying Daniels' corpse was too decomposed for a determination that she had been slain. He said he would classify the cause of death as undetermined.
Hansen's defense largely focused on his sister, Kelly Hansen, 41, who testified under a grant of immunity that her brother had confided that he smothered Daniels.
Kelly Hansen testified that she twice joined her brother in 2005 to visit Daniels' grave in a heavily wooded, remote part of the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Woodland Township, Burlington County.
In his closing, Tarpey said Kelly Hansen falsely incriminated her brother because she feared being charged as an accessory. Tarpey insisted that Kelly Hansen's first statement to police - she said her brother had said Daniels died of an overdose - was the only true one.
"After a three-day drug binge, my client foolishly listened to the advice of his sister and then together they went and buried the body in the Pine Barrens," Tarpey said.
Kelly Hansen, who sat in the courtroom gallery, wept several times during the closings, as did Daniels' mother, Gail Daniels, and other family members.
Fairman urged the jury to convict Hansen of first-degree murder. She said that Hansen's prior abuse of Daniels proved he was willing to use physical force against her and that he had told several people he feared going to prison if she testified at the abuse hearing.
The jury can choose between first-degree murder - a premeditated, malicious killing - or third-degree.
A first-degree guilty verdict carries a sentence of life in prison without chance of parole. Third-degree carries a sentence of 20 to 40 years. The prosecution is not seeking the death penalty.
Fairman told the jury that Daniels' family had seen Hansen pick her up in South Philadelphia on May 11, 2005, the last time they saw her alive.
Fairman added that after Daniels' disappearance - but before her body was found in April 2006 - Hansen repeatedly called her family to see if they had heard from her, or to tell them he had heard she left for Texas or Florida.
"What kind of man toys with a family like this after she disappears when he knows she is dead?" Fairman asked.