Robert Hansen: “I Worked on the North Slope”

If ever there was a ’70’s lie, Hansen telling the hookers that he worked on the North Slope was it. The transient, footloose man, here today, gone tomorrow — that was the image Hansen wanted to cultivate. He even had a speech, that went something like this: “Don’t bother reporting me; I’ll be out of Alaska sooner than you can get the words out. And, besides, even if you manage to tell the cops, my buddy will give me an alibi. It will be our word against yours. And you? You’re nothing but a prostitute.”

Yeah, it worked. Or it did till he met Cindy Paulson.


Robert Hansen North Slope (video + audio from confession)

Sgt. Flothe’s Nightmare Scenario

Sgt. Glenn Flothe’s nightmare scenario was Robert Hansen in a helicopter, ready to take it down as part of some ultimate death wish. The alternate view, held by Maj. Walter Gilmore, was that Hansen was a “chicken killer.” That is, he killed other people because he was too scared to kill himself. That Robert Hansen would not be taking any helicopter down.

The question was: when troopers took Hansen up to the Knik to identify burial sites, which Robert Hansen would show up? Sgt. Flothe was loathe to take any chances. He didn’t want the nightmare scenario to come true.

Nightmare
Troopers Review Hansen’s Flight Map (l-r, Lt. John Lucking, Maj. Walter Gilmore, Trooper VonClasen)


Lieutenant Jent told Sgt. Flothe that it was perfectly all right for them to take the State Trooper helicopter up to the Knik River to look for burial sites, and when Flothe passed along the information to Krumm and Rothschild, they decided to take Hansen up to the Knik the following day, a Friday. In the meantime they would make arrangements for Bob to see Darla Hansen, so the two of them could straighten out some of their domestic business.

Flothe barely slept a wink that night. In his mind, Flothe imagined Hansen going for the control stick of the chopper and then saw them wheeling toward the ground as the pilot vainly tried to regain control. Hansen was laughing the laugh of the howling dead.

The trooper sergeant was convinced that taking Bob Hansen up to the Knik River in the State Trooper’s Bell helicopter was a suicide mission. If they could get a bigger chopper, something like a Huey, he’d feel better, but there was no way the colonel was going to approve that. It would run something like five grand a day, and they’d already spent enough money on this case.

The next morning, however, when Flothe screwed up his courage to ask the colonel to rent a larger chopper, Kolovosky shrugged. “Of course,” he said.

“That way,” Flothe went on, “I could put a guy on either side of him, so he doesn’t pull any funny business.”

“Of course,” Kolovosky repeated.

“And I can sit up front with the maps, with a bulkhead between Hansen and the pilot…”

“Of course,” Kolovosky said. “Anything you need, Glenn, anything you need. Oh, and by the way, congratulations.” Then Kolovosky reached for a case at the front of his desk. “Have a cigar.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Twelve More Bodies

8/25/84: Lieutenant JENT, Sergeant FLOTHE, and Trooper VonCLASEN accompany ROBERT HANSEN to the grave sites previously described on 2/23/84. While riding a leased helicopter and following ROBERT HANSEN’s directions he then subsequently directed Lieutenant JENT, Sergeant FLOTHE and Trooper VonCLASEN to the grave sites of twelve additional bodies. The locations were photographed and marked with paint and or flagging tape.


Twelve

Twelve

Twelve

Twelve


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Back Story: Robert Hansen, Pocahantas Football

They like basketball and wrestling in Iowa, two sports where the state has traditionally excelled. They also play football, sometimes with championship seasons. In the ’50’s, when Robert Hansen played football, the running game was everything. And Pocahantas Indians quarterback Ralph Hudek… he was something else. 265 pounds of Iowa corn and a cloud of dust. Compared to Ralph, Bob was a little undersized, but compared to Ralph, everyone was undersized.

Still, Bob seemed to have a philosophy that got him through.

Football

Or, had a philosophy that seemed to get him through. Even way back then, Bob had a bundle of troubles, including a brush with arson after returning to Pocahantas from a stint in the Army.

“Bob planned the arson of the Pocahontas Community School bus barn several days beforehand, at the back of his father’s bakery. His accomplices were two sixteen year olds who also worked for his father. On the night of the arson they were to give their parents some excuse and come to the bakery instead. Once there they would paint the ovens so they would have an alibi.

On the morning of December 7, 1960, while one of his cohorts was at work in the bakery, Bob passed the word. “Tonight is the night,” he said. “We’ll meet at the bakery as planned.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


Football
Robert Hansen, Pocahantas Indians, 1957 (Des Moines Register, February 28, 1984)

Football
Pocahantas Indians Football (Partial Roster, 1957)


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Back Story: Staying In Control

Control
Robert Hansen, Anchorage Courthouse, 1972. He was there to answer Assault with a Deadly Weapon charges in the attempted kidnapping of a real estate secretary.

QUESTION: Is it only weak people who want control? If you’re needier than most, do you desire not only control, but domination? And if you’re so sad you’re pathetic, do you crave total control and total domination? We’ll let Robert Hansen answer for himself.


“I didn’t start to hate all women. As a matter of fact, I would venture to say I started to fall in love with every one of them. Every one of them become so precious to me ‘cause I wanted their friendship. I wanted them to like me so much.

“On top of the things that have happened, I’m not saying that I hate all women. I don’t. Quite to the contrary. I guess in my own mind what I’m classifying is a good woman, not a prostitute. I’d do everything in my power, any way, shape or form, to do anything for her and to see that no harm ever came to her.”

“But I guess prostitutes are women I’m putting down as lower than myself. I don’t know if I’m making sense or not. And you know, when this started to happen—when it happened the first time at Eklutna I went home and was literally sick to my stomach. As a matter of fact, I was sick out there to my stomach. I can remember I sat and cried. I knew what I did was totally, totally wrong. It had come so close to happening before with Robyn Patterson…”

“The daughter of the trooper?” Frank Rothschild asked.

“Right. There were other girls there, ah, it come so close to happening, but it hadn’t.”

“Because they hadn’t tried to run?” Vic Krumm asked.

“Right. As long as they didn’t run away, things went as I controlled it. I guess I wanted to control things. It made me feel masculine or powerful or in control of my life. And as long as things went fine, you know, that was it. But this time it went too far. My gosh, I can remember I never even drove downtown, I think, for six months. I can remember driving downtown and seeing a prostitute down there and my gosh, my whole body just tightened up. I didn’t even want to go close to one.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Nothing But the Truth, Sort Of

February 23, 1984

February, 22, 1984 was a lesson in humility. Or… Make that humiliation. If anyone thought that Hansen was going to give a straightforward confession, they had been sadly disabused of that notion. They had come to that vexing axiom: If a subject is lying, but not lying all the time, everything he says is untrue, since there is no reliable way to tell when the person is lying and when he’s telling the truth. To challenge Hansen, they were going to have to find a way to attack the known, or strongly suspected, weaknesses in his story. That had to start, it seemed, with a full accounting of the number of victims. They had to get the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth.

“You told us a number of things yesterday,” Vic Krumm said, “that we know are not totally accurate, and we don’t believe you’ve been totally candid. So far, it’s my impression that you’ve given us only the evidence on the two victims that we know for a fact are alive and willing to come forward and testify, as well as the five victims that we found.” …

“You told us yesterday that there were some bad times, but that there were twenty-one good times, and that those twenty-one good times correlated to your flight chart. We have looked at your flight chart, and one of the things that Mr. Rothschild’s been doing the last couple of days, in his inquiry of you, is asking you to explain whether or not the five places that you went, if they were all bad times, or if there were good times coupled with bad times. And on a number of those places you described to him that there were only bad times. Never any good times coupled with them. Your flight charts have the twenty-one little asterisks on it, including the five places where we found bodies that you’ve talked about, leading us to conclude that there may well be twenty-one girls out there.”

Hansen was beginning to twist nervously in his seat. So were his lawyers. What was the point of Krumm’s speech?

“Now where we sit is this,” Krumm told the gathering. “We are prepared, and will in fact, go into court as we indicated we would, on Monday, avoiding the publicity for you. But come springtime, we’re not going to let this sit. We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to be looking for sixteen more graves.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”

Truth

2/23/84: Sergeant FLOTHE, Sergeant HAUGSVEN, Lieutenant JENT, Trooper VonCLASEN, District Attorney FRANK ROTHSCHILD, District Attorney VIC KRUMM meet with ROBERT HANSEN and his defense attorneys JOE EVANS and FRED DEWEY at the district attorney’s office with regards to the continuation of the HANSEN interview. HANSEN again is appraised of his Miranda Rights and consents to the interview, thus signing the waiver form. HANSEN then subsequently relates the PAULA GOULDING murder and twelve others which he describes as to their location. Utilizing maps proveded by Sergeant FLOTHE, HANSEN then pointed out and marked the locations where the bodies had been either left or buried.


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Decks Get Cleared

Getting the decks cleared was an exercise in manuevering through Bob’s calculated attempts to sidestep the truth. The waffling started early. Sgt. Flothe, for example, wanted Bob to start with what he took to be the beginning of his murder spree, in Seward during the early ’70’s. The sergeant wanted him to talk about the disappearance of two young women in the glacial waters of Resurrection Bay. Hansen was having none of it. No, he told them, it didn’t start there. Everything started on the Eklutna power line, Hansen insisted, with a body found in July 1980.

And so it went. No one was really sure the decks were getting cleared. And if they weren’t getting cleared, that was a problem.


2/22/84: Sergeant FLOTHE, Sergeant HAUGSVEN, Lieutenant JENT and Trooper VonCLASEN meet with District Attorney FRANK ROTHSCHILD and Defense Attorneys JOE EVANS and FRED DEWEY at the district attorney’s office with regards to the interviewing of ROBERT HANSEN. Also present during the interview is District Attorney VIC KRUMM. Interview is initiated at 8:46 am with VIC KRUMM and FRANK ROTHSCHILD reviewing the agreement between the State and defendent, ROBERT HANSEN.

After waiving HANSEN of his rights he subsequently admitted to the kidnapping and rape of CINDY PAULSON. HANSEN then relates the kidnapping and murder of a dancer from the Good Times on Dimond that was subsequently during the interview identified as EKLUTNA ANNIE. The interview was concluded at 11:59 am, at which time a lunch break was taken.


Cleared


The interview was then resumed at 12:19 pm, at which time HANSEN then related the kidnapping and murder of SHERRY MARROW (sic) [MORROW]. HANSEN then related the kidnapping and murder of another dancer that he placed into a cloth bag and tossed off the railroad trestle which crosses the Knik River towards the south bank. HANSEN then related the murder of a fourth woman, a woman which he had met on the docks in Seward. This woman was subsequently identified during the interview as JOANNA MACINA (sic) [MESSINA], a body which had already been found and identified.

It should be noted that a mark corresponding with each of the above mentioned murders were observed previously on HANSEN’s map. The interview was then concluded at 3:03 p.m.


[Throughout the interview] Hansen tried to make everything seem so innocent. He even revealed that he’d taken some dancers into the bush and brought them back alive. But what about the other women who obviously hadn’t survived? Why had their fate been so different? If no one else was going to ask, Flothe decided, he would. He waded right in to Hansen’s morass of evasions.

“What made you decide not to bring some of them back?” he asked, his voice trailing off gently. “What happened?”

“Well, uh…” Hansen said, hesitating. “Once out there, there was no need for any restraints or really anything else, any firearms or anything.” There was another pause, and then a mumble. “They would take off and want to leave, you know,” he said.

“Girls would take off and want to leave?” Vic Krumm asked. “Or you would take off and want to leave?”

“They would want to take off and leave, okay?” Hansen replied. “Uh, twice they got their hands on firearms that I had with me and I came pretty damn close to getting shot. There was no hurt created, if you want to call it that, as long as they didn’t panic on me. As long as she would go along with what I wanted out there, okay, I would let her go home and that was it.”

“And if they didn’t?” Flothe asked.

“They… they stayed.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: You Can’t Postpone

You can’t postpone the inevitable. But you can try. Who knows — maybe a miracle will occur and your slate will be wiped clean. Maybe your attorneys will find THE major flaw in the prosecution’s case, a flaw so deep and wide that no judge and no jury could convict. Maybe.


2/17/84: Sergeant FLOTHE meets with D.A. ROTHSCHILD on Friday regarding the upcoming HANSEN interview, however, HANSEN has advised that he wishes to postpone the interview until the following Monday. HANSEN has related through his attorneys that he would like to think it over, over the weekend.


Postpone
Robest Hansen Hides Face From Reporters After His October 1983 Arrest (copyright Anchorage Times)

In preparation for this all-important meeting, Flothe met with Frank Rothschild the day before. When Rothschild asked, “What if Hansen doesn’t want to tell us everything we want to know?” Flothe repeated what Gilmour had suggested: “If he balks, just tell him that, come summer, we’ll charge him with murder every time we dig up another body.”

For his part Flothe was prepared to bring detailed sectional maps of the areas where Hansen’s flight maps indicated there were bodies. That way, Hansen could help them narrow down the sites where bodies were buried.

Rothschild, meanwhile, would start to work on some kind of an agreement between the various parties. The accord between counsel would finally consist not only of an agreement between the defense and prosecution concerning Robert C. Hansen, but a stipulation of Hansen’s rights and an involved waiver of those rights – all in all, a long and somewhat unusual document for what was to be a long and somewhat unusual proceeding.

Even as Flothe and Rothschild met, however, they got a call from Hansen’s attorney. Hansen wanted to postpone the interview until the following Monday. In the meantime, Dewey’s office said they’d work up an “agreement of understanding,” which Rothschild said should reflect Hansen’s willingness to give a full statement and his fullest cooperation. The defense seemed amenable to that suggestion. What else could they do?

Fred Dewey and Joe Evans, Hansen’s attorneys, had spent considerable time trying to get Hansen off on the charges lodged against him. They had called the charges ridiculous. They even tried to defend him against murders for which he hadn’t been charged, so much did they believe that he had been falsely accused. They’d done all this not just because they were expected to but because they trusted Bob Hansen. Now, it was evident he’d been lying to them all along. Like so many before them, they’d been taken in by Hansen’s heartless guile.

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Clear The Decks

2/16/84: Sergeant FLOTHE and Sergeant HAUGSVEN meet with D.A. FRANK ROTHSCHILD who advises that HANSEN, through his attorneys, has related that he wants to “clear the decks.” ROTHSCHILD indicates that HANSEN tentatively wants to set the interview up for Friday, 2/18/84, after he has had a chance to visit with his priest. D.A. ROTHSCHILD requests that an interview be set up at the district attorney’s office since that (sic) the recording equipment can be hidden from view.

Decks
Robert Hansen Police Lineup Photo


Hansen was cracking inside the confines of a cell. On Thursday, February 16, Flothe got a call from Frank Rothschild. “I want you to come down here and meet with us,” he said. “Right now if possible.”

“What’s it about?” Flothe asked, sensing an undercurrent of triumph in Rothschild’s voice.

“Hansen’s attorney just called. Hansen says he wants to ‘clear the decks.’ Those were Dewey’s exact words. ‘He wants to clear the decks.’”

“We’ll be right down,” Flothe answered. All the way downtown, Flothe kept repeating the refrain in his head. “He wants to clear the decks, he wants to clear the decks.” The moment of truth had finally come.

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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