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Trial opens for Philadelphia man accused of burying girlfriend in Pine Barrens

When a Philadelphia police detective investigating the disappearance of Taneke Daniels talked to her sometime boyfriend Glenn Hansen on June 1, 2005, Hansen knew where she was.

When a Philadelphia police detective investigating the disappearance of Taneke Daniels talked to her sometime boyfriend Glenn Hansen on June 1, 2005, Hansen knew where she was.

It wasn't Texas, which is what Hansen told detectives.

Daniels, 27, a mother of three, was right where Hansen put her - in a shallow, sandy grave in South Jersey's Pine Barrens.

That much Hansen's defense attorneys conceded Wednesday in a Philadelphia courtroom. What the Common Pleas Court jury must decide is whether Hansen buried Daniels in a panic after she overdosed on drugs or smothered her to stop her from testifying against him at a domestic-abuse hearing.

Daniels' skeletonized body was discovered almost a year after her worried mother told police she had disappeared.

Construction workers taking a break about 11:30 a.m. 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 saw a white painter's tarp protruding from the ground and part of a human skull partly covered with a plastic Wal-Mart shopping bag.

"We know that he took a pillow and put it over her face and held it down while she screamed and kicked until she stopped kicking," Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman told the jury in her opening statement.

Fairman said that after Daniels was dead, Hansen had sex with the corpse before wrapping and burying it.

Hansen, who did time for a 1993 Bucks County rape and was on probation in April 2005 for drunken-driving, was charged with domestic assault in an April 7, 2005, incident in which Daniels was found bruised, stunned, and half-clothed, walking on North 66th Street in Overbrook.

A court hearing was set for May 23, 2005. Hansen showed, Daniels did not.

The trial will likely focus on the key prosecution witness - Hansen's sister, Kelly Hansen - who Fairman said will tell how Hansen confided in her about the killing and how she accompanied him on several visits to Daniels' grave site.

Defense attorney Michael P. Parkinson, who with Timothy J. Tarpey represents Hansen, told the jury in his opening that Kelly Hansen was lying to save herself from criminal charges.

Parkinson said Kelly Hansen had been granted immunity from prosecution by the District Attorney's Office. He warned: "Watch out for that lightning bolt when she puts her hand on the Bible."

Parkinson said Hansen originally told detectives that her brother said Daniels died of an overdose. Parkinson said Hansen advised her brother to hide the body because he would go to prison.

Parkinson portrayed his client as a victim of an erroneous initial autopsy report that Daniels died of asphyxiation.

For that reason, Parkinson said, detectives chose to believe Kelly Hansen's later story: "At that point, that's what they think and that's what they needed it to be."

Daniels was last seen May 12, 2005, leaving a high-rise apartment she sometimes shared with Hansen in the 1100 block of North 63d Street in Overbrook, where he worked in maintenance.

Hansen, a pale, gaunt man with thinning, graying combed-back hair and wire-rimmed glasses, stared ahead, jaw clenching, as Fairman graphically described the allegations.

He watched intently as Daniels' relatives wept while a New Jersey state police detective narrated grave-site photos of Daniels' tightly wrapped body projected on a screen for jurors.