There was a plodding quality to Robert Hansen’s personality, a dogged, even cunning, determination that made its presence felt whenever he wanted something. We know what he wanted. The women of the night called out to him from every street corner, from every topless club, from every den, warren, backroom or massage parlor. Even in the halfway house, he had his eyes on the parole board. That was his ticket to freedom. So he applied for parole.
The Good Doctor
By November 1972, Hansen had been seeing Dr. Alan Parker for six months of therapy. It was Parker who filed a report with the parole board. Parker’s report was unstinting. He wrote that Hansen “has no difficulty that I am aware of in appropriately handling the considerable degree of freedom” that parole would afford him. “I do not anticipate that he will display any deviant behavior if he were paroled.”
Darla Hansen also got a mention from the good doctor, with Parker noting that “his [Hansen’s] ties to his wife are much better and stronger than existed prior to his arrest.” The payoff of the report, however, was Parker’s recommendation to the parole board. Here it is:
“Because of his demonstrated capacity to handle the freedom which he now has, his maintenance of his work and financial responsibility and the improvements noted above, I would recommend that he be paroled.”
Parole and Its Abuses
Robert Chris Hansen was paroled in December 1972, little more than a year after his assaults on Susan Heppeard and Patty Roberts. And, starker still, his parole was approved just nine months after his March sentencing.
In late 1972, Bob Hansen picked up a young woman — a girl, really — as she exited a movie theater. He took her to his car, where he pulled a gun, tied her up and drove her along the Old Seward Highway. He told the young woman he’d kill her if she didn’t do what he wanted. This was, in fact, the same routine he’d used with Patty Roberts.
The young woman told him she was only sixteen. Said this was her first time. Admitted she hadn’t eaten in days. Something must have clicked. Hansen drove her back to Anchorage. Bob Hansen knew how to handle his freedom, all right. Boy, did he ever.
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2020). All rights reserved.
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