Trial begins in intimidation case
The trial of a man charged with sending a threatening letter to various law enforcement agencies began Monday, April 24.
Dale Hanson, 65, has pleaded not guilty to the charges of failure to register as a sex offender and intimidation before Flathead District Court Judge Heidi Ulbricht.
Following jury selection, court was adjourned after both the state and the defense made opening statements.
According to District Attorney Andrew Clegg, the trial is expected to proceed over the next two to three days.
Hanson was convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy in 1995 and was sentenced to 20 years in Montana State Prison with 10 years suspended.
Following his release, the state alleges that Hanson refused to register as a sex offender and then began threatening both local and federal officials through a letter he sent to agencies including the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshall’s Service and the FBI.
According to court documents, Hanson’s letter began by stating he was “writing this to inform - forewarn you that there are going to be a bunch of dead people if your agency does not intervene on my behalf!!”
The letter identifies the writer as Hanson and says that he has been fighting Flathead County officials for 22 years to clear his name for crimes he claims he did not commit. The letter states Hanson “will start killing people to get public attention.”
The letter goes on to state a number of alleged injustices carried out against Hanson in relation to his conviction and lists a number of actions that should have been taken to clear his name.
According to court records, Hanson’s letter states, “There are going to be some dead people over this [expletive]-up mess if they are not held accountable! That you can take to the bank!”
In the letter, Hanson refers to numerous Flathead County employees as “thugs and thieves” and concludes with Hanson stating “I will have my revenge.”
A bench warrant was issued in 2009 for the felony offense of failure to register.
The state this week plans to present a total of 10 witnesses, including multiple local and federal officials.
Hanson is represented by criminal defense attorney Sean Hinchey, who asserted in his opening statement that Hanson never intended to cause harm to anyone named in his letter.
The trial will resume Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
If convicted, Hanson could face up to 10 years in prison for each count.
Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.