Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown reminds Calista Seelinger about statements she made regarding the July 12, 2018, attack of David Hansen, which led to Hansens death Aug. 31. Seelinger testified during the first-degree murder trial of her son, Jacob, Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown reminds Calista Seelinger about statements she made regarding the July 12, 2018, attack of David Hansen, which led to Hansens death Aug. 31. Seelinger testified during the first-degree murder trial of her son, Jacob, Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Jacob Seelinger was “overcharged” and not responsible for the death of David Hansen, 46, Decorah, last summer, according to Seelinger’s attorney, James Metcalf of Waterloo.
Seelinger is on trial at the Winneshiek County Courthouse for first-degree murder in Hansen’s death. Dalton Adam, 19, Decorah, also has been charged with first-degree murder for Hansen’s death.
Adam’s trial is scheduled for Oct. 28.
In his opening statement Tuesday morning, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown said Adam and Seelinger “pummeled” Hansen in his driveway on July 12, 2018, and the only witness was Calista Seelinger, Seelinger’s mother.
“Dave Hansen was beaten to death—his face was reduced to a bloody mess and he never regained consciousness,” Brown told the jury of six women and eight men who were seated late Monday afternoon. More than 100 potential jurors were called for jury selection.
Metcalf said his client neither hit nor kicked Hansen. He said Adam knocked Hansen over and when he hit the ground there was a loud “crack.
“He never regained consciousness. Dalton got on top of him and pummeled him and didn’t stop,” Metcalf said.
Hansen died from his injuries Aug. 31
“My guy was wearing a white shirt that had only a couple of blood dots on it. It’s not the T-shirt of a guy who crawled on Dave’s body and killed him … evidence will show he probably has some responsibility. But not for David’s death. That’s why we have jurors,” Metcalf said.
State witnesses testifying Tuesday included Iowa State Patrol Trooper Jared Rude, Winneshiek County Sheriff Dan Marx and Calista Seelinger.
The Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office received a report from Calista Seelinger that Adam and Seelinger were assaulting Hansen at Hansen’s residence on Old Stage Road in Decorah at about 11:30 p.m. July 12, 2018. Both Seelinger and Adam fled from the scene.
Calista had been living with Hansen for about a year, but also had a no contact order against him as a result of a domestic incident. Seelinger did not live with them.
Rude, who was questioned by Winneshiek County Attorney Andy Van Der Maaten, said he'd been assisting the Decorah Police Department with an investigation of an assault at the Fairgrounds involving Seelinger and Adam when he received a report that an assault was in progress at Hansen’s residence.
When he arrived at the residence, Rude said Hansen was lying on the driveway with a pool of blood under his head. His eyes were swollen shut and his face and chest were covered in blood.
“Calista was on the scene. She was cradling his head in her arms,” Rude said.
Hansen was unconscious and struggling to breathe and Calista told Rude she didn’t know where Seelinger and Adam were.
After the scene was secured, the ambulance arrived, and Rude drove so that both ambulance paramedics could work on Hansen. The jury was shown gruesome close-up photos of Hansen’s face that Rude took for documentation at the hospital.
Rude and other law enforcement officers later arrived at the residence of Seelinger’s father, Jacob Seelinger Sr., in the Haugen Hummel Addition north of Hansen’s residence. They found Seelinger standing in the driveway.
Seelinger was taken into custody and when he was being handcuffed, he said his right hand was hurting, Rude said.
“When I first interacted with him, he was calmer. As he was advised of his Miranda rights, he became more agitated and more demonstrative. His voice level rose. He was yelling at me and more hostile toward me.
Marx recalled Seelinger repeatedly saying “he beat my mom, he beat my mom, he beat her again,” and that he wanted to talk to his grandfather or father. He eventually was allowed to talk to his grandfather, Clifford Seelinger, who tried to calm him down.
Adam became the subject of a manhunt and ultimately was arrested on a warrant in Crawford County, Wis. the next day. Adam is being held in the Winneshiek County Jail.

Mother’s testimony
Calista Seelinger testified for more than an hour Tuesday afternoon and the state pressed her on discrepancies between her recollection of the events now as opposed to statements she gave officers after the incident and during depositions.
Brown said during her 911 call, Calista said both Adam and her son had assaulted Hansen. She was also recorded on a deputy’s body cam saying both were involved in the assault.
She testified Tuesday that she remembers Adam punching Hansen in the head and that once Hansen hit the ground he didn’t move. Brown then reminded Calista she had testified previously that once Hansen hit the ground, Seelinger and Adam both punched and kicked him.
“That might have seemed true that night, but I was highly intoxicated. Everything was blurry,” Calista said. She said she’d been drinking all day and that she was high on methamphetamine.
“I couldn’t tell you detail for detail. DJ (Adam) hit him (Hansen), he (Hansen) hit the ground then everything was blurry from there,” she said.
“You have no memory problems for what Dalton Adam did, but you have memory problems when it comes to Jacob. You said in your 911 call that Jacob and Dalton were bashing his head in,” Brown said.
“I don’t remember saying that,” Calista said.
Earlier the day of the assault, Calista said she and Hansen argued and that Hansen “threw her around” and “threw her outside” the house. She called her son for a ride, but he didn’t have a car and later got a ride with Abbi Howard, who was a friend of her children. Calista met Howard at Casey’s General Store near Hansen’s residence and went to the fair for about a half hour, meeting up with her son, and Adam, who had been Seelinger’s friend “on and off” throughout high school.
Calista said her son was angry because someone had taken his wallet. She said she didn’t tell her son Hansen had thrown her around that day, but said her entire family was aware that Hansen had been physical with her in the past.
Calista said after the Fair she wanted Howard to take them to Jacob Seelinger Sr.’s house. Brown asked if Seelinger was angry and instead wanted to go to Hansen's house, and Calista responded she didn’t know.
Howard ended up taking Calista, Seelinger and Adam to Hansen’s residence where Calista went inside and asked Hansen to come outside to help her calm her son down.
“We all stood in the front yard and everybody started saying stuff. It just escalated and he (Hansen) and DJ (Adam) got into it. Things happened so fast,” Calista said.
Brown again reminded Calista she told police after the incident that both Seelinger and Adam were kicking Hansen and would not stop.
“I don’t know half of what was true that night … I was very mad and very high,” she said.

In his cross examination, Metcalf asked if Adam was a “bigger, taller, chunkier kid, who had at times been protective of Seelinger,” and Calista responded he had.
The defense attorney also asked Calista if her son had been drinking whiskey, had taken Xanax and was acting a little crazy the night of the attack, and Seelinger responded he had.
Calista said she had tried to protect Hansen during the attack and was over the top of him while he was unconscious when her son pulled her away.
“He (Seelinger) kept saying he was protecting me,” she said.
Metcalf asked Calista if smoking meth for more than a year had caused her problems and she responded “yes, a lot of problems.” He asked if she had been using methamphetamine since she was deposed, and Calista said she had not.

The defense is expected to present its case on Wednesday, and jury deliberations could begin Thursday.