What Don’t We Know?

Mind of a Monster: Ep. 5

Episode 5 of Mind of a Monster: The Butcher Baker, takes us deep into the life — or is that lives — of Robert Hansen. First, there is the search of his modest home on Old Harbor Drive, east of downtown Anchorage in an area we now know as Muldoon. That search is, more than anything, thorough — and exhausting.

Next, we drop into the interrogation rooms of Anchorage. We hear Alaska State Troopers as they interview an elusive Robert C. Hansen — arrested in a sweep that takes in his bakery, his home, his airplane and his vehicles. Later — months later — we’ll hear him in the offices of the Anchorage District Attorney’s office where, theoretically, he will “clear the decks.” Even during these precise moments, there was much that authorities didn’t know. There was a lot of ground to cover.


Old Harbor Drive

Given that background there was, to be sure, a great deal of tension during the search of Hansen’s house, one of the primary sites on an October day in 1983. Glenn Flothe has told me, more than once, that the dominant feeling was one of “we sure hope you’re right, Glenn.” Right as in they hoped they’d find critical evidence at Hansen’s house.

Maxine Farrell was there, looking for jewelry. She had the list of “mementoes,” offered by those who’d reported their missing dancer friends. Officer Gregg Baker was there, too, part of a squad of investigators taking the house quadrant by quadrant. It was Baker who remembered seeing a cache of rifles during his first visit. A cache that included what he thought was a mini-14. The alleged murder weapon.

Hours Go By

At the house, the hours dripped by. So many hours that Robert Hansen’s five hour interrogation was finished and he was off to the jailhouse. And still no sign of the critical evidence. No mementoes. No jewelry. But plenty of firearms.

Among them, Baker hoped to find the mini-14. No such luck.

Portion of Hansen’s gun stash (all of it stolen)

Way Too Long

By the time Glenn Flothe arrived at Old Harbor Road, things had succumbed to the dismal thought that they were looking for hidden treasure. Maybe even missing treasure. An unspoken explanation was that Hansen had ditched it, forever taking it beyond their reach. Soon they were closing in on midnight. There was only one quadrant left. The attic. Gregg Baker had wanted to search it back in June 1983. It was no dice then. But now the stakes had changed. They had to know what, if anything, was up there.

Crawling through attic insulation is the shittiest of all jobs. It’s dirty, dusty, almost suffocating. Drawing that dubious straw was AST Lt. Pat Kasnick. A man who was allergic to the stuff.

Lt. Pat Kasnick, Alaska State Troopers (courtesy ID)

Soon enough he’d found a cache of firearms. And a plastic bag filled with jewelry. Bingo. That’s all they needed to know.

Mementoes found in Hansen’s attic (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Things I Didn’t Know

The confrontation during Hansen’s “confession” is, admittedly, old hat to me. I’ve read the transcripts. Heard the tapes. Shivered in my boots as Hansen digresses into trivia in a headlong attempt to avoid accountability.

The words I haven’t heard are from Hansen’s counsel, Fred Dewey and Joe Evans. For better or worse, Butcher, Baker was told through the Trooper’s eyes. Episode 5 contains a special treat, especially for me. Joe Evans takes us through the thoughts and emotions that surged through Hansen’s defense team. Evans’ insights into the entire “clear the decks” incident is pure gold.

And, of course, there’s a cliff hanger. From contemporaneous reports, we know there was a shouting match between Hansen and his attorney’s during a side meeting at his confession. I anticipate we’ll soon know more about that, too. Thanks in advance, Joe!

Tune In Now

I won’t add more because, really, you should check out the podcast for yourself. This is great story telling that adds a lot to the base story Walter Gilmour and I shared with the world more than thirty years ago.

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Bonus Quote

[Hansen] was arrogant about it until he decided to ‘clear the decks’ … this time he’s got a little problem because we got a dead prostitute out there that’s been shot and he can’t simply say, ‘yeah, I was with her that night and the last time I saw her I dropped her off and 4th and B’– ‘cause now you’re talking murder.

Sgt. Glenn Flothe, interviewed by Leland E. Hale

Dr. Michelle Ward has a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience/Psychology from USC. She has served as an expert trial consultant in criminal cases involving a multitude of violent murderers. Her podcast series features her own personal and professional insights, as well as comments from family and friends of both the killer and the victim.

Copyright Leland E. Hale (2024). All rights reserved.

Leland E. Hale

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