(by Student #16 AMH 2010 1115)
For my first casefile investigation, I chose a woman who got convicted of 2nd degree murder in California but was born in New York. This murder was around the mid 1930s during the Great Depression. A case like this is very interesting to me because it’s a murder. Who doesn’t like finding out about murders and all the details that come with them? Although it is a murder and seems like a lot might go with it, I am not sure how much I am going to find because of it being close to a 100 years ago. I am not familiar with how people lived life back then and unsure what all could’ve happened. I am very curious to see who she murdered and why. Hopefully in the files I look through it will say the weapon (if used) that was used to kill and along with this, what time of day. Was it late at night when something sparked or just middle of the day. I do expect to find who she killed and hopefully it will say the reason why. When looking at her mugshot you can see that Eleanor has a little smirk on her face for some reason. I get the hint that she is happy about what she did and doesn’t regret anything. Also on the booking report I have it says she is a housewife. As of right now I am unsure what that really means but if I had to guess it sounds like she has a husband that works while she just stays at home to clean, cook, etc.
To begin my first research on Eleanor, I looked on ancestry to see if I could find anything to being with. The very first thing I found was the same exact record with her picture that I got in class. This is a good sign because I know I’m finally doing something right and looking at the right stuff. Below the first thing that popped up were 2 separate files of her booking report. Most of the information was the same with few differences when comparing to the record I have from class. One of the booking reports has her nationality as New York which I found strange because that isn’t a nationality. New York is where she is from but in this report, it is considered her nationality. Also in the same booking report, it has a section where it says teeth and next to that it says good. I am unsure why they needed to list her teeth and I did try and find a reason why but didn’t see too much on why there is a need to list someone’s teeth. In the same booking report in the top left-hand corner it had “Fingerprint” typed out and under that was typed “Classification”. Next to where it said fingerprint “31 I 17” was handwritten and next to classification it said “20 OI 18”. What is interesting about this is that on the booking report I got in class it said the same thing except for fingerprint it had 21 instead of 31. I am unsure why one report says 21 and the other says 31 and I did try looking to see if anything would pop up on google if I typed those in but never saw anything about them. I also never saw anything about fingerprints having specific numbers and the only thing I could really think of was that there have been 21/31 people booked that day and 17 of them were women but this is just a complete guess. After finding this I found a link that had a few more clippings of newspaper articles and pictures of what happened for the murder. Her husband was Hans Hansen and he was a Hollywood Astrologer and also a motion pictures studio employee. They had a daughter together and I do believe they got a divorce at some point because Hans was supposed to pay $10 a month to support their daughter but didn’t see anything saying that they were divorced. I do believe they were divorced though because I did read that he Hans was ordered by the court to do this is support of their daughter Barbara. Not any other reason to be ordered by the court to do this unless the married couple was divorced.
The beginning of the murdering day started on October 1st, 1934 which was about 84 years ago. Eleanor arrived at Hans (her husband) boarding house and on the front porch she fired to fatal revolver shots into his chest killing him. In the newspaper clippings that I looked at it never said where Hans was when getting shot or how long the screaming went on before he got shot. After she shot him, she then fled on foot to her daughters’ high school where she was caught about an hour later after the shooting. This answers a question on what time of day everything went down. She had gone to the school to see her daughter. Eleanor must have known that she was going to be caught so I assume she just wanted to see her daughter before she got taken into custody. She said to the officers that her daughter Barbara was hungry and had nothing to eat and the father (Hans) was not paying to support her daughter. Before taken away into custody she gave her daughter her wedding ring and her other jewelry. When talking to the officers she told them that she didn’t plan on shooting him at all. She shot out of anger because when asking for the money she supposedly insulted her causing her reaction of shooting. She was sent to the Tehachapi prison for women and was sentenced to life.
The Tehachapi prison was a woman’s only prison out in California but this wasn’t your average prison. This was a high-class prison as in very nice. Instead of traditional cells there were 3 different two-story cottages and 2 of the cottages were complete living space with kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, and bathrooms. When under construction the cottages were made to be as home like as possible for comfort. This does confuse me because why would you want your prisoners to be comfortable while sentenced in a jail. In this jail bed time was at 9 and during that time the women were locked in their rooms. As of today, this same facility now houses only men but that was not its original purpose.
Overall Eleanor is convicted of 2nd degree murder of her husband and she is now facing a sentenced of 5 to life in a jail cottage. Depending on her living situation since it was during the Great Depression, the jail she was at was probably a pretty good place to be during this time. The real sad part about everything is Barbara the daughter of Eleanor and Hans now has to live life with her dad being dead because her mom shot him. Her mom is also in jail and has no parents in her daily life. During the time of the murder Barbara was 13 years old and I can only imagine what she had to go through when growing up. That isn’t something easy to live with knowing the situation that took place.