Homicide detectives were pressing her to tell everything. Her domineering older brother was intimidating her not to tell the police, their mother, anyone.
Feeling her world closing in around her, Kelly Hansen sat down on Sept. 19, 2006, with pen and paper and wrote, "To Whom It May Concern: My brother, Glenn Scott Hansen, has put a bigger burden on my shoulders than ever."
Hansen, 41, wrote on, describing how her brother told her he smothered girlfriend Taneke Daniels, 27, in May 2005 to stop her from testifying against him in a domestic-abuse hearing; how he had sex with Daniels' corpse, wrapped her up, and buried her in the Pine Barrens; how she agreed to join him on two trips to the grave and heard him cry out to the woods, "I'm sorry, I love you."
"He told me he wanted me there for support," Hansen wrote in the letter she gave to a friend for safekeeping on Oct. 3, 2006. "But always in the back of my brain, I think, 'What if Kelly ends up the same way as Taneke?' "
Her voice quiet but clear, Hansen read the letter Thursday to the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury hearing the murder case against her 47-year-old brother.
Her demeanor as she read was a sharp contrast to the timid, at times inaudible, woman questioned for three hours by prosecutor and defense lawyers as her brother glared from across the room.
Defense attorneys Timothy J. Tarpey and Michael P. Parkinson have told the jury Kelly Hansen is a liar who feared being charged as an accomplice and sold out her brother for immunity from prosecution.
The defense says the truth is in Kelly Hansen's first statement to homicide detectives after Daniels' body was found in April 2006: That her brother told her Daniels died of a drug overdose and he secretly buried her in a panic over going to prison.
In her first 30 minutes on the witness stand, Hansen haltingly responded to questions from Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman. She paused as long as 30 seconds before replying and often squeezed her eyes tight as though blotting something from her vision.
"Is there some other reason you're nervous besides testifying in court?" Fairman asked.
"My brother, all the intimidation," Hansen replied.
After a recess in which the jury was taken from court, Fairman outlined to Judge Shelley Robins New what she called threats that Glenn Hansen made against his sister to try to scare her from testifying.
When the jury returned, New let Fairman play a 2006 audiotape that Kelly Hansen made of a phone message from her brother.
"You need to shut the [expletive] up about what you know about this case," Glenn Hansen says in an angry, reedy voice. "You're just [expletive] up in all kinds of ways."
Kelly Hansen said her brother told him he killed Daniels, the mother of three children, on May 12, 2005, to stop her from testifying against him at a May 23, 2005, domestic-abuse hearing.
"Are you crazy? Over abuse charges?" she said she replied.
Hansen also testified about joining her brother on two trips, in spring and summer 2005, to Daniels' grave in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Woodland Township, Burlington County.
"He said he needed to put pine cones at the tree," Hansen testified, using her brother's euphemism for Daniels' grave site.
She said her brother later explained to her that he feared the odor of Daniels' decomposing body would attract animals.
Construction workers on a cranberry bog took a break about 11:30 a.m. April 24, 2006. One noticed a patch of strong-smelling pine-cone-covered ground, a painter's tarp protruding from the earth, and some of a human skull partly covered with a plastic shopping bag.