Defense attorneys are asking a judge to throw out a conspiracy charge that prosecutors added last week to the case against a 22-year-old Hastings man accused of murder in Adams County District Court.
Denise Frost, one of the attorneys representing Daniel B. Harden, Thursday filed a motion to quash the amended information, which added a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery.
Harden previously had been charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony in the case as one of two men accused of trying to rob 19-year-old Jose “Joey” Hansen and killing him in the process in 2017.
In the amended information, Harden is accused of calling or messaging various people to set up a drug deal in order to rob the person.
In the motion to quash, Frost wrote that prosecutors know there is no evidence to support that allegation. She wrote that Hastings Police Capt. Raelee Van Winkle, who is lead investigator in the case, testified under oath in a discovery deposition on June 20 that there is no evidence that Harden contacted anyone, including Hansen, to set up a drug deal or robbery.
The investigation also showed that Harden didn’t have a cellphone at the time.
A hearing on the motion has been scheduled for Sept. 18 at 2 p.m.
The conspiracy charge stemmed from an alleged plan between Harden and co-suspect Deante Mullen to arrange a drug deal with the intent to commit robbery. Harden and Mullen reportedly went from Mullen’s residence at 106 N. California Ave. to meet Hansen in the 700 block of West G Street and brought a firearm in order to use it to rob Hansen.
Authorities say the attempted robbery led to Hansen’s death on Sept. 11, 2017, in 700 block of West G Street. Hansen was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back.
Mullen, 21, of Lincoln and Katherine Creigh, 23, of Lincoln also have been charged in the case.
Mullen faces charges of first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony. He pleaded not guilty March 5, 2018. A pre-trial hearing in his case has been set for Nov. 12 at 11 a.m.
Creigh, Mullen’s girlfriend at the time, also was charged with accessory to a felony for allegedly helping Harden and Mullen avoid arrest after the shooting. A preliminary hearing in Creigh’s case has been scheduled for Nov. 7 at 2 p.m.
A pre-trial hearing in Harden’s case has been scheduled for Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.
Attorneys in the case are also awaiting a judge’s decision about pre-trial motions argued July 26.
In a motion in limine filed Jan. 30, the defense asked to not allow hearsay evidence from Creigh and Serenity Crossfield, who reportedly overheard discussions about the shooting, arguing that hearsay evidence isn’t allowed and neither individual was present at the time Hansen was shot.
Investigators believe Crossfield overheard conversations about Hansen’s murder, first at Creigh’s residence about 3 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2017, and then hours later during discussions in Creigh’s vehicle while driving from Hastings to Lincoln.
A second motion in limine was filed on July 16, asking to exclude statements Harden made after his arrest and to exclude a shell casing recovered from Creigh’s vehicle during the investigation because the model of the gun or ammunition used in the shooting is unknown.
Harden pleaded not guilty to the charges on Feb. 27, 2018. In a motion filed July 24, defense attorneys claim Harden was not present with Hansen at the time of his death. At that time, the defense claims Harden was at a house where he resided, based on witness interviews.
First-degree murder is a Class 1 or Class 1A felony punishable by death or by life in prison. Prosecutors haven’t indicated if they will pursue the death penalty. Use of a firearm to commit a felony is a Class 1C felony punishable by 5-50 years in prison. Conspiracy to commit robbery is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison. Accessory to first-degree murder is a Class 2A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.