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Richard Hanson, accused of beating wife to death in front of children, held without bail

Newton man accused of beating wife to death
Newton man accused of beating wife to death 02:41

NEWTON - Richard Hanson, the Newton man accused of brutally killing his wife two days after she filed a restraining order against him, was ordered held without bail Monday.

At his arraignment in Newton District Court, Hanson, 64, pleaded not guilty to murder and several other charges in the death of his wife, 54-year-old Nancy Hanson, Saturday night at their home on Brookline Street.

Richard Hanson in Newton District Court, July 17, 2023. CBS Boston

According to prosecutor Megan McGovern, police received two 911 calls at 8:21 p.m. - one from a child in the house and the other from one of Nancy Hanson's friends.

The child, one of the couple's sons, told police "His father was hitting his mother with a baseball bat," McGovern said. The child was downstairs with his two young brothers while the couple were fighting upstairs.

The friend who called 911 said she was on the phone with Nancy Hanson when the fight started.

"She heard the phone drop and then several loud bangs could be heard in the background, as well as children screaming, 'Stop dad, you're killing her'," McGovern said in court.

Nancy Richard Hanson
Nancy and Richard Hanson CBS Boston

When police arrived they said they found Richard Hanson in the driveway with blood splattered on his body and clothes.

"He made statements to the effect of, 'She was cheating on me' and that he couldn't believe he did that," McGovern said.

The prosecutor said one of the children led police to a child's bedroom where they found Nancy Hanson unconscious with a head wound. A baseball bat and a barbell with blood on it were found near her. She was rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital where she died. Richard Hanson was arrested.

Police interviewed the son who called 911 and he told them his parents were always fighting and that it had gotten worse this week, McGovern told the court.

Police sealed off the Hanson home on Brookline Street in Newton, July 15, 2023. CBS Boston

An autopsy showed Nancy Hanson had fractured right and left forearms, several fractured ribs, blunt force injuries to her skull, defensive wounds on her hands and fingers and a bruised torso.

Court documents reveal a history of domestic issues. In 2020, Nancy was arrested for kicking Richard. In 2021 she filed a restraining order after Richard allegedly threatened to kill her. McGovern said he had violated that order. 

Just last Thursday, Nancy filed another restraining order accusing her husband of shutting off her phone, stealing her pocketbook and her keys. McGovern said authorities were not able to serve him with the order. 

"The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of the children who live in the home," a DCF spokesperson told WBZ-TV in an email.  

Nina Willis remembers Nancy Hanson fondly. "I can't believe she's gone. I cannot believe she's gone. She will definitely be missed," said Willis.

The two were fitness instructors together for years at the former Boston Sports Club in Newton. Nancy continued to teach as it became the YMCA until her death this past weekend.

"She was effervescent, energetic, big hearted," Willis said. "Totally took over like her energy took over the room when she came in." 

Richard Hanson is due back in court on August 16.  


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