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Attorney General's News Release

December 17, 2010

Attorney General Koster announces Poplar Bluff man convicted of murder

(Jefferson City, Mo.) - Attorney General Chris Koster said today a Howell County jury has found Shawn Curtis Hanna, 31, guilty of 1st degree murder in the 2003 shooting death of his father, Ralph Hanna. The case was heard on a change of venue from Butler County. This is Hanna's third trial; the first two trials resulted in a hung jury.

Koster said Ralph Hanna died from a gunshot wound to his chest outside his home as he was returning from a hunting trip. Shawn Hanna claimed his father was shot in a hunting accident by an unknown hunter.

Koster said the jury handed down their guilty verdict after being presented with evidence that Hanna and his mother, Denise, had conspired to kill Ralph Hanna to keep him from finding out about a large number of debts they had incurred. Evidence included letters Hanna had written to his half-sister confessing to the murder.

Denise Hanna was earlier convicted in Carter County of 2nd degree murder and armed criminal action and is serving a life sentence, plus 10 years.

"Though nothing can undo this horrible tragedy," Koster said, "I'm pleased that our office was able to see that justice is finally being served."

Judge David Evans has set Hanna's sentencing for February 25. He faces life in prison without parole.

Koster commended Assistant Attorneys General Kevin Zoellner and John Harrel of the Attorney General's Public Safety Division for their outstanding work in obtaining the murder conviction.


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