Elmer Hansen said his family is bitter and heartbroken over the loss of his son, David Hansen, during the sentencing hearing of Jacob Seelinger, one of the men charged in the beating death of David Hansen during the summer of 2018.
Elmer Hansen said his family is bitter and heartbroken over the loss of his son, David Hansen, during the sentencing hearing of Jacob Seelinger, one of the men charged in the beating death of David Hansen during the summer of 2018.
In sentencing Jacob Seelinger to a term not to exceed 50 years in prison Monday afternoon for his role in the beating death of David Hansen, Judge Richard Stochl of New Hampton noted the defendant “never once” admitted to his participation in the crime, nor showed any remorse toward his victim.
“Under the circumstances and the brutality of the offense I find that striking,” the judge said.
In addition to the prison term, Stochl ordered Seelinger pay a $150,000 civil penalty. With good time credits and other credits available to inmates, Seelinger will not serve the entire 50-year sentence. Because he was a juvenile at the time of the crime, his eligibility for parole will be subject to the parole board's discretion.
Seelinger, 18, Decorah, and Dalton Adam, 19, Decorah, both were charged with first-degree murder in connection with David Hansen’s death last summer. A Winneshiek County jury found Seelinger guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder July 11.
The men were accused of beating Hansen July 12, 2018, at Hansen’s Decorah home. Hansen was knocked unconscious during the attack and never regained consciousness. He died from his injuries Aug. 31, 2018.
Adam’s trial is scheduled for Oct. 28. During a hearing on a motion for a change of venue immediately after Seelinger’s sentencing hearing, Stochl order the trial be moved to Chickasaw County. It remains set for Oct. 28 and is expected to last about five days.

Apologized
Seelinger apologized to Hansen’s family members and said if he could change what had happened, he would.
“I’m sorry you lost your brother. I’m sorry you lost your son. I’m sorry you lost a loved one,” Seelinger said.
“As far as my family, I’d like to apologize you all had to go through this with me. I also want to thank you for the support you guys have shown me,” he said.
In addition, Seelinger said he was sorry to the community “for the trouble I caused” and thanked law enforcement “for the hospitality they’ve shown me.”

Victim statements
Hansen’s father, Elmer Hansen, brother, Allen Hansen, and sons Anthony and Tommy Hansen all gave victim impact statements in front of a full courtroom.
Elmer Hansen said Seelinger shouldn’t serve a minimum sentence, but the full 50 years for every day his son suffered and spent in a hospital not knowing what was going on.
“He was beaten so bad, there was no chance he would survive. He was basically brain dead. It was hard to deal with for family and friends,” Elmer said.
He said he should have had many years left to enjoy with his son.
“We are bitter and heartbroken over our loss,” Elmer said.
Allen Hansen said he talked frequently with his brother, something he can no longer do. David Hansen was 46 and could have lived another 50 years, his brother said.
“You destroyed a family … he won’t be able to see his grandkids,” Allen said.
“It was a brutal crime. I could understand if he died from a car accident or cancer, but to beat a man to death with your bare hands, that’s not right. You did an adult crime, you should do adult time,” Allen said.
Tommy Hansen, Hansen’s youngest son, said no one taught him anything but his father.
“He was a hell of a father,” Tommy said.
He told Seelinger it must be nice to see his father in the front row of the courtroom and said he would no longer be able to see his own dad.
At the age of 17, Tommy said he’s living on his own.
“I have absolutely nothing. I’m as lost as they come. What am I supposed to do? Do you know how many times I’ve called his number? I have voice mails from him, pictures. That’s all I’ve got. I have questions about everything and I can’t call him. He was the one man I could always rely on,” Tommy said.
“I’m ready to tell you in person I forgive you,” Anthony Hansen told Seelinger.
“That only comes from the grace of God,” he said.
“I’m ready to be a friend. I can’t wait to come and visit you and help you grow into the young man you can become,” said Anthony, adding Seelinger would have to pay for the crime he'd committed.

County Fair
Seelinger and Adam were at the Winneshiek County Fair with friends before the assault on Hansen. They’d both been drinking and had taken Xanax, and been involved in two altercations before they left.
During his trial, Seelinger testified he was agitated because he’d lost his wallet, hat and sunglasses. A friend later drove the two men and Calista Seelinger, Seelinger’s mother, to Hansen’s house. Calista wanted Hansen to calm her son down and help her get him to his father’s house, where he lived.
Calista was living with Hansen at the time of the assault and also had a no-contact order against him as the result of a domestic incident.
Seelinger said he talked to Hansen a few times about Hansen’s treatment of his mother and the last time was about a week before the assault.
Seelinger has 30 days to appeal his sentence.