Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sentencing set for former McDonald County sheriff candidate

The sentencing hearing for former McDonald County sheriff candidate Randy Alan Hance, who pleaded guilty July 15 to federal weapons charges is set for 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14, in Springfield.
The facts of the case were laid out in court documents filed in connection with his pleading. On Nov. 24, 2004, McDonald County Sheriff's Department officers, along with the South Central Drug Task Force, responded to a call from Connie Hance, Hance's ex-wife, who said her former husband was near her home in spite of a protection order that had been issued against him.
The order prevented him from possessing firearms, according to the court document. He was already being sought for a previous protection order violation. During a search prior to Hance's arrest, officers found two weapons, a Beretta Model 96,. 40 caliber pistol, and a Remington, 870 Express 12 gauge shotgun, plus 18 rounds of Smith & Wesson 30-30 gauge rifle ammunition, 46 rounds of Remington 20 gauge shotgun ammunition, 53 rounds of Remington 12 gauge shotgun ammunition, 12 rounds of Remington 30-30 gauge rifle ammunition, 14 rounds of Remington 260 caliber rifle ammunition, and 20 rounds of Remington 250 caliber rifle ammunition.
The maximum penalty for the crime, according to the court document, is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a $100 mandatory special assessment which must be paid in full at the time of sentencing.
Under terms of the plea agreement, the government will not bring any additional charges against Hance for any criminal offenses of which it is aware at this time. "The defendant understands that this plea agreement does not foreclose any prosecution for an act of murder or attempted murder, an act or attempted act of physical or sexual violence against the person of another, or a conspiracy to commit any such acts of violence of which the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri has no knowledge."
Hance also has to give up ownership of the guns to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The agreement also says that if Hance does not like the sentence the judge imposes, he will not be allowed to withdraw his plea.
Hance has been held without bond after a judge was convinced by the U. S. Attorney that he posed a risk to his former wife, others, and to himself. The U. S. Attorney entered into evidence papers which indicated Hance, an East Newton High School graduate, had planned everything, right down to naming who he wanted to serve as his pallbearers.
The initial protection order had been issued against him after threats and harassment including "defendant putting a gun to Ms. Hance's head, telephone calls in which (he) threatened Ms. Hance's life and repeated visits by (him) to Ms. Hance's residence."
Just prior to his Nov. 23 arrest, Hance had told his ex-wife that something bad was going to happen to her on that date.
After he was arrested, Hance consented to a search. Officers found a spiral notebook containing messages to friends and family members. "These letters indicated that (Hance) intended to murder Ms. Hance and then kill himself," the U. S. Attorney said in his motion to keep Hance behind bars without bond.

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