Jury gives Hann death penalty for murdering his daughter

Hann found guilty of 1st degree murder w/ special circumstance, assault resulting in death

INDIO, Calif. - A jury has given the death penalty to Jason Michael Hann for murdering his daughter in Desert Hot Springs. Hann turned 39 years old the same day he learned he would be put to death.

Jurors found Hann guilty on Tuesday of first degree murder with a special circumstance, and guilty of assault causing the death of a child.

The penalty phase of the trial began Wednesday afternoon and jurors decided upon death just before Noon on Thursday. The other option was to give Hann life in prison without the possibility of parole.

During closing arguments, the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney described Jason Michael Hann as a monster murderer who chose death for two of his infant children.

When Hann was caught while holding his third child inside a motel room in Maine, the four-week old baby was found to have 12 broken ribs and bleeding in the brain. 

Authorities were then able to find the decomposing remains of his first son in an Arizona storage unit. Hann plead no contest to second degree murder in Vermont and was sentenced to 27 to 30 years in prison. That conviction is the special circumstance in this case.

"How many baby's did the defendant have to kill before we realize he's killing on purpose?" Deputy D.A. Lisa DiMaria asked during closing arguments.

Hann, who is from Vermont, traveled to at least 17 states between 1998 and 2002. He left the decomposing remains of his daughter Montana in an Arkansas storage unit.

"Nothing about the defendant or his lifestyle coincided with parenthood," DiMaria said.

Hann, 38, wrapped Montana's head in duct tape and her body in trash bags, and placed her in a Tupperware container. The container was then put in another trash bag and kept inside a trailer for a year at an Arkansas storage unit, according to the prosecution.

When Hann and Werntz stopped making payments, the trailer was auctioned off to an Arkansas man, who discovered the bag in February 2002, DiMaria said. Hann and Werntz were taken into custody in April 2002 at a motel in Portland, Maine.

While all three of his children suffered serious injuries allegedly from his hands, two times resulting in death, the Deputy D.A. asked why Hann never once called 911.

"You get professionals, you get medicine there," DiMaria said. "He did not try CPR because he chose death. He killed her. Intentionally. He chose death."

When Hann's girlfriend and the mother of his children, Krissy Werntz, said she was going to call the police, DiMaria says Hann told Werntz he would kill her.

"Is that a grieving father?" DiMaria asked the jury. "No. Is that a monster murderer? Yeah," she said.

The defense gave its closing statements Tuesday morning.  In opening statements, they argued that the murder of Montana was not pre-meditated and that Hann is bi-polar. 

Werntz will be tried separately for the murder of Montana next year.

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