Deante Mullen offered jurors a glimpse into the final moments of Jose “Joey” Hansen’s life before the 19-year-old was shot and killed on Sept. 11, 2017.
Mullen took the stand to testify in the murder trial of co-defendant Daniel Harden on Friday in Adams County District Court.
Mullen testified that Harden contacted him to hang out on Sept. 10, 2017, around 10:27 p.m. Mullen picked Harden up in a white Chevy Tahoe owned by Katherine Creigh, Mullen’s girlfriend at the time.
Mullen said he also was contacted by Deonte Hayes, an old friend who wanted to hang out. Mullen picked up Hayes, his girlfriend Serenity Crossfield and their 1-year-old child and brought the group over to his house.
He said they were partying, smoking marijuana, snorting cocaine, taking prescription drugs and drinking alcohol.
During the course of the evening, the conversation turned to “doing a lick,” which Mullen described as robbing someone of drugs or money. Mullen said Hayes needed money to buy diapers and clothes for his child. Mullen wanted to help his friend and started looking for a person to set up for a robbery.
Mullen testified Harden indicated he was willing to help because he wanted money too. While they didn’t discuss specifics, Mullen said the participants in a robbery generally split whatever is taken.
“He just said he was down to hit a lick,” Mullen said.
Mullen said another person contacted him about teaming up for a robbery at a later time, around the same time he was looking for people to rob.
He managed to get ahold of Joey Hansen and the two arranged, through text message and phone calls, to trade 3.5 grams of meth and $100 for 3.5 grams of cocaine. Mullen said he had about 12 grams of cocaine, but planned to rob Hansen instead of trading.
Meanwhile, Hayes had gotten sick, possibly from a drug overdose. He had turned pale and was throwing up. Mullen said Hayes went into the bedroom — where the child was sleeping — to lay down. By the time the deal was set up, Mullen said he couldn’t wake Hayes.
Mullen said he turned to Harden next.
“I said, ‘Are we still doing this,’ “ Mullen said. “He said, ‘Yes.’ “
Mullen said he picked up his Draco — identified by other witnesses as an AK47 variant handgun — and drove Creigh’s Tahoe to the 700 block of West G Street. At first, he couldn’t find Hansen and drove around the area for a while. After a phone call to Hansen, Mullen stopped the vehicle at G Street and Hastings Avenue to wait for Hansen to arrive.
A couple minutes later, Hansen opened the door and got into the vehicle.
“He gets in and hands me a bag of meth,” Mullen said. “That’s when the gun went on him.”
Mullen said Harden was holding his Draco, leaning over the backseat and pointing the weapon at Hansen. He said there had been no discussion about how the robbery would be conducted. He didn’t see Harden chamber a round into the gun, but said he didn’t know how to check it. He had recently purchased the gun and it had been loaned to his brother, Devin, on two occasions.
In the back seat of the Tahoe, Hansen swore and opened the door to get out of the vehicle.
“That’s when you hear a boom,” Mullen said.
Mullen testified the gunshot made his ears ring and he felt the blast of the muzzle flash on his face. He said he didn’t see whether Hansen was hit but couldn’t see him anymore.
“It just happened so fast,” he said. “I immediately panicked. I didn’t know what to do.”
Mullen said he got out of the vehicle and glanced around, but didn’t see Hansen. Mullen shut the back door where Hansen had exited and got back into the Tahoe.
“I got back in the car and asked Dan, ‘Why did you shoot?’ “ Mullen said. “He said, ‘I don’t know. I didn’t mean to.’ “
Mullen drove back to his house, feeling panic because he didn’t know if he had just been involved in a killing.
“I don’t know how fast I was going, but I was going pretty fast,” he said.
At his house, he and Harden exited the vehicle. Mullen went inside the house, but he didn’t recall whether Harden did.
Inside, Creigh asked Mullen about his cellphone because she had been calling him. Mullen checked his pockets and couldn’t find it. He checked the vehicle, but it wasn’t there either.
Thinking it may have been left at the scene of the shooting, Creigh drove the Tahoe back over to the area, with Mullen in the passenger seat, and saw the phone and a package of Mullen’s cigarettes laying in the street. Mullen said he didn’t remember dropping them, but thought he must have when he got out to shut the back door.
The next day, they found out that Hansen had died from a single gunshot wound to the back.
Mullen and Creigh decided to go to Lincoln to get out of town for a while. They invited Hayes, Crossfield and Harden to come with them. Mullen said he sold the Draco for $250 because he wanted to get rid of the weapon.
Mullen later was arrested by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln Police Department with help from the Lincoln Police Department for an outstanding warrant.
Mullen said he was sorry for his actions.
“I feel sorry for his family. I feel sorry for my family,” he said. “I feel wrong for it. I feel very wrong for everybody, including my baby girl.”
Hansen’s mother, Wendy, and other family members and friends attending the trial were visibly shaken as Mullen recounted the tragic scene.
Friday was the second day of testimony in the murder trial, which will continue Monday.
Harden is on trial for first-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony, and conspiracy to commit robbery.
First-degree murder is a Class 1A felony punishable by life in prison. Use of a firearm to commit a felony is a Class 1C felony punishable by five to 50 years in prison. Conspiracy to commit robbery is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison.