OCONTO – An Oconto Falls man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for a murder 16 years ago.
Peter Hanson was convicted of shooting and killing 19-year-old Chad McLean after a night of drinking in February of 1998.
Prosecutors claimed Hanson dumped McLean’s body in the Pensaukee River.
Hanson walked into Oconto County Court Thursday afternoon, almost a year after the family of McLean was finally able to end its search for the teen’s killer.
“His last 15 years of freedom for us have been 15 years of injustice for Chad,” said Lori Neilson-Grigg, McLean’s cousin.
Early last year, witnesses came forward with new information, enough to charge Hanson.
The long wait for that charge is why McLean’s cousin told the courtroom her family wanted no chance of parole.
“Knowing my cousin, I will never wrap my head around what this scrawny, soft-spoken kid could have done to cause someone to want to end his life, not only end his life, but throw him away like garbage,” said Neilson-Grigg.
Hanson chose not to speak on his own behalf. However, his attorney asked the judge for a chance at parole after 20 years, when Hanson would be 73 years old.
“I think what is important to understand is that a parole eligibility date is not an automatic,” said Jeffrey Jazgar, Hanson’s attorney.
Judge Michael Judge sided with the prosecution and McLean’s family.
“The agony that Mr. Hanson caused to this family for 16 years, there’s no other word for it, it’s despicable,” said Judge.
“It’s just what we’ve been waiting for, for 16 years,” said Bob Neilson, McLean’s uncle. “It’s just too bad it couldn’t happen sooner. People could have come forward, but it means a lot and it’s the resolution we wanted.”
The years of waiting are why McLean’s family is encouraging people to come forward in any cold case, no matter how minor the information might seem.
“It is important and this case proved it because just somebody hearing a gunshot brought forward other people and this is the result,” said Neilson.
Charles Mlados, who also faces charges of killing McLean, is scheduled to go to trial in August.
Oconto County Strikes OUT again
Once again, Oconto County Sheriffs Dept. and Detective Darren Laskowski, needed outside help to solve a fifteen year “cold case” murder. Fifteen years to the day that Chad McLean’s body was found in the Pensaukee River.
According to the criminal complaint, Peter Hanson and Charles Mlados were investigated since 1998 when Chad McLean went missing on the night of February 22, 1998. Hanson and Mlados were last seen with the victim, Chad McLean.
When you look at the evidence that they had fifteen years ago it would astound even a non criminal investigator could figure out that something was not right. Both Hanson and his friend Mlados were the last ones seen with the victim, McLean’s body was found less than a mile from Hanson’s home in Abrams Wisconsin. But it wasn’t law enforcement that brought this cold case to light in my opinion. It was the voice of Hanson’s ex-wife, Kathy Hanson, who was interviewed by Laskowski on September 24, 2009. Kathy had reported that her husband came home at 9:30pm on the evening of February 22, 1998 and noticed that her husband, Hanson, was “panicking and freaking out”. She saw blood on Hanson’s hands and provided him with “bleach” to help clean up the blood. Kathy Hanson will never see justice served as she is now also deceased. A few months after she gave her interview with Laskowski she ” allegedly” committed suicide in 2009. Not to mention that Hanson also “accidentally” shot and killed his brother long ago. People seem to die haphazardly around Peter Hanson it would seem. On May 12, 2008 Kathy Ann Hanson filed a temporary restraining order on then husband Peter Hanson in Oconto County. On June 9, 2008 the restraining order was dismissed by Judge Michael Judge of Oconto County. By the winter of 2009 Kathy Hanson would be dead by an alleged “suicide”.
Oconto County would have you believe they worked tirelessly on this murder when that is exactly the opposite of what they do. Not only did they place Kathy Hanson’s life in danger by re-interviewing her in 2009 they failed to protect her. But that’s what Oconto County does, they give criminals a higher regard than victims. There are several law enforcement agencies that finally brought this cold case to life and I immensely respect those that did. The two agencies that I do not is Oconto County Sheriffs Department, Officer Laskoswski and Oconto Falls Police Department. They couldn’t solve a solid colored Rubik’s Cube. Even with surveillance video of a burglar in a persons home Oconto Falls PD couldnn’t figure out and refuse to.
The lesson here is once again that Oconto County is inept in any investigation they start or refuse to start. Criminals and murderers run free for years. It’s only and only when the Wisconsin Department of Justice gets involved that anything is solved. Another lesson to learn is that Oconto County is dangerous to your health, safety and sanity.
My heart goes out to Chad McLean’s family and especially his mother, she deserved better than the fifteen years of shoddy police work. My heart also goes out to the children of these alleged murderers who now are fatherless and Hanson’s who have lost both parents. God bless the real investigators and do gooders in this case that had to come from outside of Oconto County’s little bubble of nepotism, corruption, collusion and cronyism to bring justice to crime victims everywhere. May God have mercy on the souls of Oconto County and the bungling idiots that run amok there for my child and I will never have such mercy.