Will Hansen Ever Post Bail?

When Robert Hansen sat with Detective Ron Rice and Sgt. Don Hughes, AST, carefully dodging their questions, he was already facing a complaint filed in the Anchorage Superior Court. They had him on counts of Kidnapping, Assault with a dangerous weapon and Rape. The warrant was approved the previous day — December 28, 1971 — by Judge J.J. Brewer. At that time, the judge endorsed Hansen’s bail at $100,000.00.

Bail Postponed

They booked Hansen into the State Jail on December 29, a Wednesday. That same day, he found himself before Judge Hal R. Horton, represented by attorney Jim Gilmore. The wheels of justice were slowly starting to grind toward a determination.

Robert Hansen at his 1971 arrest (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

The complaint was read and a preliminary hearing set. The judge revised his bail down to $50,000.00. Hansen remained free on his own recognizance. He still needed a Bail Hearing. But the court schedule slid into the new year, the bail hearing postponed for “another time.”

Character Witnesses

A week later, Hansen was before another judge. Two, actually. The first was a preliminary hearing, with Patty Roberts sworn and testifying on behalf of the State. Judge Tucker held Hansen to answer for the charges. The second was a bail hearing. Several witnesses testified on Bob Hansen’s behalf. Reverend Abrahamson from Darla’s church. Character witness Jerold Gi. Hunting buddy and insurance executive John Sumrall. Patty Roberts was there too, facing down her assailant. It seemed as if Patty had won the day.

On January 26, 1972, Robert Hansen was indicted on three felony charges. It was almost a month to the day from Patty’s kidnap and rape.


Trial was set for the week of March 20, 1972 before Judge C.J. Occhipinti. The maneuvering quickly stepped up a notch. Attorney Jim Gilmore filed a motion for a different judge. “[Defendant] believes that he cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial before the Honorable C.J. Occhipinti, Judge of the Superior Court in [State of Alaska vs. Robert Chris Hansen.]”

It was pertinent that these weren’t the only charges Bob Hansen faced. Lingering on a parallel track was the Heppeard case and a separate count of Assault with a dangerous weapon. One reasoned he would do some hard time here. The man was clearly dangerous.

Throughout this time, however, Robert C. Hansen remained free on his own recognizance. He hadn’t posted a single dime in bail. He never would. It was a sign of things to come.

Copyright Leland E. Hale (2020). All rights reserved.


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