Hastings police made a huge step in finding “Justice 4 Joey” Thursday by arresting three people connected to the shooting death of 19-year-old Jose “Joey” Hansen.
Daniel B. Harden, 21, of 2619 Butterfoot Lane was arrested 7:36 p.m. Thursday at 1019 N. Williams Ave. Deante H. Mullen, 19, and Katherine E. Creigh, 21, both of Lincoln, were arrested 6:30 a.m. Friday at an apartment in Lincoln.
The Adams County Attorney’s Office filed charges of first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony Thursday against Harden and Mullen in Adams County Court. Creigh, Mullen’s girlfriend, was charged Thursday with accessory to a felony for helping Harden and Mullen avoid police after the shooting.
Bond for Harden and Mullen was set at $1 million, with 10 percent cash needed for release. Creigh’s bond is $500,000.
Hastings Police Chief Adam Story said at a news conference Friday that the investigation, led by Capt. Raelee Van Winkle, indicates Hansen was meeting with Harden and Mullen under false pretenses.
Harden and Mullen allegedly intended to rob Hansen and the attempted robbery led to Hansen’s death on Sept. 11 in the 700 block of West G Street. Hansen was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back that exited the front of his body.
Adams County Attorney Donna Fegler Daiss said she couldn’t release specific details of the case and the arrest affidavits in the cases have been sealed to protect the integrity of the investigation as well as the identity of witnesses interviewed in the process.
Officials did answer a few questions about the incident, though.
Story said the shooting is believed to have occurred about 2:30 a.m.
Daiss said there was no indication that Hansen was armed at the time of the meeting. Daiss wouldn’t say whether Harden or Mullen shot Hansen, but both are charged with the crime because both are believed to have been at the scene when the crime occurred.
Daiss said Creigh is accused of providing transportation after the crime, thus becoming an accessory to the murder.
Story said the investigation has been a priority for the Hastings Police Department. He said the city has a low homicide rate and the incident shocked the community.
“We want to bring some closure to the family and friends of Joey Hansen and we understand they will forever be affected by this unnecessary act of violence,” he said. “We want our citizens to feel safe in our community and it is important that those involved are held accountable.”
To that end, police worked with several law enforcement agencies to process the crime scene.
Police investigated the case with assistance from South Central Area Law Enforcement Services (SCALES), Nebraska State Patrol, the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Grand Island Police Department, Kearney Police Department, Lincoln Police Department, University of Nebraska at Lincoln Police Department, Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center, Adams County Attorney’s Office and U.S. Marshals with the Metro Fugitive Task Force in Lincoln.
Friends and family of Hansen were invited to attend the news conference Friday.
Hansen’s mother, Wendy Hansen, said it was a relief to have charges filed in her son’s death. She thanked the officers for their work in the case.
“I want justice to be served,” she said. “I know they worked diligently. They worked all day and all night.”
She said her faith in God and support from friends and family have gotten her through the tragic loss of her only son. She believed her son was a good person despite some bad choices that led to drug addiction. After his death, she heard from several strangers who knew him and told her about the positive impact her son had left behind.
“He had a good heart,” she said.
Daiss said first-degree murder is a charge in which the death penalty can be sought, but prosecutors haven’t decided whether to pursue capital punishment. If prosecutors pursue the death penalty, she said notice will have to be provided at a later time.
“Notice would not have to be done at this time,” she said.
First-degree murder is a Class 1 or Class 1A felony punishable by death or life in prison, respectively. Accessory to first-degree murder is a Class 2A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.