Tracy Alan Hansen

Executed July 17, 2002 by Lethal Injection in Mississippi

36th murderer executed in U.S. in 2002
785th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Mississippi in 2002
5th murderer executed in Mississippi since 1976

Since 1976
Date of Execution
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Method of
to Murderer
Date of
Lethal Injection
Tracy Alan Hansen

W / M / 23 - 39
David Bruce Ladner
W / M / 33

On Friday, April 10, 1987, Mississippi Highway Patrol Officer David Bruce Ladner, was patrolling on Interstate 10, when he pulled over a Lincoln driven erratically and speeding. Hansen was driving the Lincoln and his girlfriend, Anita Louise Krecic was also in the vehicle. During the stop, Trooper Ladner asked for permission to search, and both Hansen and Krecic consented, giving fictitious names. In the process, Ladner took the keys to the Continental and placed them in his pocket. It is unclear exactly what happened next, but, at some point, Hansen drew a .38 caliber pistol and shot at Trooper Ladner. To avoid the fire, Ladner ran around the car and dropped to the ground, in an apparent attempt to roll underneath. Hansen managed to get off two shots at close range, each striking Ladner in the back. Still, Ladner managed to get up and make it to the median strip, where a passing motorist took him to the hospital. He died two days later. Hansen had 10 prior felony convictions and had served time in Florida. Krecic was also convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.


Final Meal:
Broiled lobster, shrimp, scallops and crab meat served with clarified butter and cocktail sauce, fried fish fillet and oysters with tartar sauce, a Pepsi and chocolate morsels.

Final Words:
Hansen gave a rambling speech and prison officials finally removed the microphone, beginning the lethal injection process even as he continued speaking. "I don't mind dying if it gives you closure. I'm guilty. I shot the guy. I panicked. I was running from the law. I shouldn't have had a gun. I didn't want to kill him. I'm sorry, but I know sorry doesn't mean much to some people."

Internet Sources:

Mississippi Department of Corrections - Death Row

Jackson Clarion-Ledger.Com

'I'm guilty ... I shot the guy . . . I'm sorry' by Jimmie E. Gates. (July 18, 2002)

PARCHMAN It took 15 years for Tracy Alan Hansen to run out of legal appeals but only about 10 minutes for him to be put to death Wednesday. Fifteen years after he killed state Trooper David Bruce Ladner by pumping one bullet in his shoulder and another in his back, Hansen paid with his life by lethal injection at the State Penitentiary at Parchman. "I don't mind dying if it gives you closure," Hansen said to the Ladner family before the drugs were pumped into the IVs in his arms. State Pathologist Steven Hayne pronounced Hansen dead at 6:32 p.m., about 10 minutes after the lethal injection began, state Department of Corrections officials and media witnesses said.

Media witnesses said Hansen gave a rambling speech before he was put to death. Witnesses said prison officials finally removed the microphone, beginning the lethal injection process even as he continued speaking. " 'I'm guilty. I shot the guy. I panicked. I was running from the law. I shouldn't have had a gun,' " witnesses quoted Hansen as saying. " 'I didn't want to kill him.' " He apologized to the Ladner family, saying: "I'm sorry, but I know sorry doesn't mean much to some people," adding he hoped Ladner's family would now be able put the tragedy behind them.

The execution appeared painless, with Hansen exhaling once and closing his eyes, the eight media witnesses said. "Justice was done," Herman Cox, a Gulfport attorney who acted as spokesman for the Ladner family, said after the execution. Ladner's brother, Kirk, and the slain trooper's two sons witnessed the execution, as did Cox. Cox, who prosecuted Hansen as an assistant Harrison County district attorney in 1987, said Hansen died painlessly. That wasn't the case for Ladner, who died 36 hours after being shot in the back with Hansen's second bullet, he said. "May God have mercy on Tracy Hansen," Cox said.

Hansen and his girlfriend Anita Krecic were wanted in Florida at the time for a string of robberies stretching from Fort Lauderdale to Gainesville. Convicted of capital murder, Krecic is serving a life sentence at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County. Sixty Ladner family members, friends and law enforcement officers arrived by chartered bus from Gulfport at the penitentiary at 3:40 p.m. The bus was escorted by Mississippi Highway Patrol vehicles. Tracy Alan Hansen's body will be cremated by the American Cremation Society of Memphis.

Hansen was talkative and appeared anxious Wednesday before his execution, MDOC spokeswoman Jennifer Griffin said. She said Hansen also mailed 23 letters, but her staff doesn't know who they went to. Hansen's last meal consisted of broiled lobster, shrimp, scallops and crab meat served with clarified butter and cocktail sauce. He also had fried fish fillet and oysters with tartar sauce, a Pepsi and chocolate morsels. Hansen's attorneys, Charles Press and Debra Sabah, who witnessed the execution, said their client was "remorseful and wishes the best for the Ladner family."

Hansen requested that none of his family witness his execution, but the condemned inmate made calls Wednesday to his father Lawrence Hansen of Orlando, Fla. Efforts by The Clarion-Ledger to reach Hansen's family, including his father, were unsuccessful Wednesday. Other calls Hansen made Wednesday were to longtime friend Rhea Abbott of Aberdeen, Wash., who operates a prison ministry and lost a son and daughter-in-law to a violent crime. Abbott said Hansen should have been punished, but not put to death. "There were extenuating circumstances, and he has shown nothing but remorse."

Numerous Hansen supporters, many from foreign countries, sent letters to Gov. Ronnie Musgrove asking him to grant clemency. Musgrove refused. In a statement after the execution, the governor said: "There are too many other death penalty cases still awaiting some type of resolution. Fifteen years is too long for the families of the victims and the state of Mississippi to wait for justice to be served."

Attorney General Mike Moore, who witnessed the execution, said he hopes it will bring some closure for the Ladner family. Moore said he gave the OK for the execution after his office checked as late as 5:55 p.m. Wednesday to make sure no stays had been granted. A small group of protesters gathered about 90 minutes before Hansen's execution at the gates of the penitentiary. A smaller group of supporters of victims stood nearby.

Cop killer Tracy Alan Hansen is scheduled to be put to death July 17, which would make him the 1st inmate executed in the state since 1989. On Monday, the state Supreme Court set the execution date. The date was set one week after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Hansen's appeal. "No legal impediment exists to deter the resetting of an execution date," the state's highest court said in its order Monday, signed by Justice George C. Carlson Jr. Hansen has exhausted his court appeals, said Assistant Attorney General Marvin 'Sonny' White, who handles capital murder appeals for the state. The chances of Hansen's execution being carried out July 17 are "highly likely now," White said. The execution is set for 6 p.m., Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jennifer Griffin said. Previous executions in the state occurred after midnight. After the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Hansen's appeal, the state attorney general's office requested an execution date from the state Supreme Court.

Hansen is sentenced to die for the April 10, 1987, shooting death of Mississippi Highway Patrolman Bruce Ladner. Ladner died from gunshot wounds in the neck and back after he pulled over Hansen's car on April 10, 1987, for speeding in Harrison County. The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi has said Hansen shouldn't be executed because he was represented by an unqualified and unprepared lawyer. Hansen would become the 1st person in the state to die by lethal injection. On July 1, 1998, state law made lethal injection the form of execution for death row inmates. Hansen has been on Mississippi's death row for almost 15 years for the April 10, 1987, shooting death of Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Officer Bruce Ladner. Mississippi's last execution was in 1989, when Leo Edwards, 36, was put to death in the gas chamber for killing a convenience store clerk during a robbery in Jackson.

Brandon Ladner, who lost his father when he was 11 years old, hopes justice is near. "We have been told so many times that it would be this year, then the next year but it would drag on," said Ladner, 26, a deputy with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department. "Our family is all pro-death penalty, of course, and we are excited that there may be closure." Brandon Ladner said the family has been afraid Hansen would escape before he was ever executed. Family members were told Hansen had planned to escape from Unit 32 at the State Penitentiary on May 28, 2000, with Roy Harper and John Woolard. Harper and Woolard got away but were later recaptured. Hansen never escaped. Ladner was killed after he pulled over Hansen and his ex-girlfriend Anita Krecic during a routine traffic stop on I-10 in Harrison County. Hansen and Krecic were wanted in connection with a robbery in Florida. After Hansen shot Ladner, he and Krecic stole the officer's gun and left the scene in Ladner's patrol car. They were captured a short time later in Hancock County. Both were convicted of murder in Harrison County, but Krecic did not receive the death penalty and remains in prison. Hansen had an appeal denied by the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans in November 2001. At the time, Hansen claimed he was denied effective legal assistance during the penalty phase of his case and had key testimony in his defense excluded.

Jackson Clarion-Ledger.Com

Condemned killer writes: 'I'd prefer if I could say I don't remember' by Jimmie E. Gates. (July 16, 2002)

Facing death by lethal injection in less than 48 hours, Tracy Alan Hansen says he believes the death penalty is wrong and his death will not bring peace to his victim's family.

Hansen, scheduled to die at a little after 6 p.m. Wednesday for the 1987 shooting death of state Trooper Bruce Ladner, responded to a letter from The Clarion-Ledger mailed to him at the State Penitentiary at Parchman. His five-page, single-spaced reply typed on school notebook paper was dated July 9 and arrived Monday. "I think the death penalty is wrong," Hansen said. "I have to believe this while believing that I deserve to live." The thousands of dollars state officials say are spent to house a person for one year could be better spent, he writes, "to help children when they first start showing problems and (to) have better care for those in juvenile facilities." But "politicians find it easier to talk about taking the streets back, how bad crime is, you're always in danger ... and I'll lock them up forever in other words, do very little to help the problem," Hansen wrote in a rambling letter that also touched on inconsistencies in U.S. policies.

Hansen said he never meant to kill Ladner. He said he had a history of stealing things, not of violence. Hansen said he should have never had guns ... but ended up with one in his hand when he shot Ladner, who had pulled him over on a routine traffic stop on I-10 west of Gulfport. Ladner was shot once in the shoulder and once in the back. Hansen said he told the trooper to "'Hold it right there,' and he panicked and went for his gun ... and I panicked and shot ... and standing there with two loaded guns, there was surely no intent to kill ... "Not that this really makes it prettier ... but I suppose one who commits such an act always tries to find something that makes them look less ... or more than the person who could commit such an act. I think of having not slept three days prior ... drinking a lot of wine coolers that day ... and yet, I can remember it quite well ... I'd prefer if I could say that I don't remember it ... that it never happened."

Ladner was helpless when he was shot in the shoulder, said Herman Cox, then an assistant Harrison County district attorney who helped prosecute Hansen. Cox said there was no need to shoot him again, but Hansen shot Ladner again execution-style in the back. Kirk Ladner of Gulfport, brother of the slain trooper, said Monday that Hansen's letter is another indication of him "grasping for straws" now. Kirk Ladner said his brother was a good man, who year after year made it his goal to try to help others, including the homeless.

Hansen, in his letter, also praised Bruce Ladner: "I've talked with several officers who knew Bruce seems everyone knew him and had something to say about him, and nothing bad. Even many prisoners knew him, and said he was a fair and honest man ... "Seems I also heard how he was very active in his children's life, he helped with Little League ... not just a do-gooder or something, but someone who really had their heart in being considerate of other people and helping where he could. ... but I do care about them. I never forgot the anger and hurt I saw in the faces of his children at my trial, and the fact they had to grow up with that ... changed the rest of their life, and even now I can see ways they're still hurting about it."

Ladner's two sons were ages 13 and 11 at the time of his death. He also had a stepdaughter, who was 17 at the time. But capital punishment does not give families closure, Hansen said. "(I)f I had been sentenced to life, then it would have been far more settled with the family in ways, but, now fifteen years later, it's all (brought back) to (the) surface ... for the last time??? I don't think so I think whether it (is) revenge or hate or whatever confusion, it will be part of them very often until the confusion is overcome," he said.

Asked if there were anything he wants the Ladner family to know, Hansen said he wishes he could tell them he loves them. Their desire to see him die "takes from their life, and there's something more and better for their hearts than whatever the motive is in their desire for me to be killed," Hansen writes. "They desire that I be killed, indeed killed, so I speak from experience when I say that it's all wrong."

Rhea Abbott of Aberdeen, Wash., who operates a prison ministry and has become a friend of Hansen, said Monday that she believes Hansen is sincere in his remorse. Abbott lost a son and daughter-in-law to violence. In the last five or six years, Hansen said he's changed and become "an honest man a man of very high integrity, considerate of the feelings of others, truly caring about and loving other people ... kind of makes Bruce seem like Jesus Bruce was out there even to protect the likes of me."

Hansen said he cannot sense the finality of his execution. "I tend to feel that it's not here today, so I don't have to worry about it today ... if there's no stay by the 17th, I can worry enough that day." And if he dies on Wednesday, Hansen writes, "I can appreciate finally being away from Parchman, where I've spent fifteen years in a cell the size of your bathroom."

Jackson Clarion-Ledger.Com

"Parchman Staffers Prep for Execution," by Sherri Williams. (July 13, 2002)

PARCHMAN Six mock executions have been performed at the State Penitentiary at Parchman to ensure Tracy Alan Hansen will be put to death next week with no problems. During a media briefing at the prison Friday, Mississippi Department of Corrections' Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Chris Epps said 73 staff members have gone through the procedure that will be carried out during what will be the state's first execution by lethal injection unless Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a death penalty supporter, grants Hansen a reprieve.

Epps said he witnessed a lethal injection in Texas in January to prepare for Hansen's execution. Another mock execution will be performed before 6 p.m. Wednesday, when Hansen is set to die. Hansen, 39, fatally shot Mississippi Highway Patrolman Bruce Ladner in Harrison County in 1987 during a routine traffic stop.

Hansen, of Florida, and his girlfriend Anita Krecic went on a crime spree in Florida before killing Ladner in Mississippi. Krecic, 43, is serving a life sentence at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County. Hansen's execution will mark the first in the state in 13 years. The last execution was in 1989 of Leo Edwards for the fatal shooting of store clerk Linzy Don Dixon in Jackson. Edwards was executed in the gas chamber.

Hansen, one of 66 inmates on death row in Unit 32, will be transported to Unit 17 48 hours before the execution is to be carried out. The 13 maximum security inmates usually housed there will be removed. Two hours before the execution, Hansen will be allowed to eat his last meal. He has requested a seafood entree, Epps said. He will be allowed visits from his lawyers and clergy before the execution.

Hansen will walk a few steps from the 54-square-foot cell into the execution room, adjacent to the old gas chamber. The execution room has three windows where 19 witnesses, including eight members of the media chosen through a lottery, will view the execution. Hansen cannot see clearly outside the room. Members of Ladner's family and members of Hansen's family will also be allowed to view the execution. Relatives of Ladner will be attending. Jennifer Griffin, MDOC communications director, said none of Hansen's relatives has requested to witness the execution.

Hansen will lie on a steel gurney with an inch-thick black vinyl mat. His head, arms, feet and torso will be strapped. The executioner will place an IV in each arm. After all witnesses are in the witness rooms, white curtains will open revealing Hansen strapped to the gurney. The superintendent will read the execution order, then Hansen will be allowed to say his last words. A microphone will be hovering over his head. Speakers are in the witness and medical rooms. "He has said he will have some last words," Epps said.

After Hansen speaks, the lethal drugs will be administered. Epps said it would take three minutes to administer the drugs and five to 10 minutes for Hansen to die. First, sodium thiopentol will put him to sleep. Pavulon will stop him from breathing, and, lastly, potassium chloride will stop his heart. The IV lines carrying the drugs are located near three phone lines that could serve as his lifelines. Phones to the governor's office, the attorney general's office and an open phone line are in the medical room.

Musgrove met with Hansen's attorney, Merrida Coxwell, in Jackson for an hour to discuss Coxwell's clemency request submitted to the governor Wednesday. Lee Ann Mayo, spokeswoman for Musgrove, said Musgrove will announce his decision on the request Tuesday. Musgrove also Friday met with Bishop William Houck of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, who pleaded with Musgrove to commute Hansen's sentence to life in prison.

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter Thursday to Musgrove making the same request. In a series of court filings seeking to forestall the execution, Hansen's attorneys have asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to reconsider its dismissal of the condemned man's appeal.

On Friday, Hansen and six other death row inmates filed a motion and lawsuit in federal court requesting a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop his execution. They are asking the court to stop the execution so Hansen can testify in the lawsuit. Prisoners claim they are being denied medical treatment among other needs.

Griffin said Hansen's demeanor has changed since his execution date was set. "He's a little quieter from what I understand," she said. Regardless of his crime, death penalty opponents want to spare his life. Sister Dorothy Gunn, a nun with Catholic Charities in Jackson, has requested to hold a vigil for Hansen, Griffin said. MDOC has also received a request to hold a vigil for Ladner. Both vigils will be held on the prison grounds.

Jackson Clarion-Ledger.Com

July 14, 2002 "Execution Has to be Done, Slain Trooper's Family Says," by Jimmie E. Gates. (July 14, 2002)

GULFPORT David Bruce Ladner's Mississippi Highway Patrol tag number, K-34, and his photograph are fixed in the marble marker at his grave. Flowers and an American flag flank the flat gravestone and raised marble headstone.

"I don't want my two children to grow up in a world with no justice," Damon Ladner said last week as his stood beside the manicured grave site where the slain trooper is buried. "My father gave his life so we could have freedom and justice." And after 15 years, the Ladner family says justice will be done. Ladner's killer, Tracy Alan Hansen, 39, has run out of appeals and, barring a last-minute reprieve, will die Wednesday for his crime. Bruce Ladner's family members say they take no joy in his execution, but his death by lethal injection is justified.

Damon Ladner said he's not looking for vengeance. Hansen should be put to death not only for what he did to Bruce Ladner and law enforcement, Damon Ladner says, but because the justice system has deemed it so.

Trooper Ladner was shot April 10, 1987, after stopping a car driven by Hansen on I-10 west of Gulfport. The nine-year veteran was shot once in the shoulder and once in the back. He died two days later at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. The slaying of Ladner was a "cold-blooded crime," Gulfport lawyer Herman Cox, an assistant Harrison County district attorney at the time, said last week. Cox said Hansen's first shot hit the trooper in the shoulder. Helpless, Ladner was then shot execution-style in the back, Cox said. "There was no need to shoot him a second time," Cox said.

It's hard not to feel anger, said Damon Ladner, the eldest son of the slain trooper. Before his visit to his father's grave in the Lyman community near Gulfport, Damon Ladner sat in his uncle's living room, trying to put into words the loss of his father and what he feels as Hansen's execution nears. Damon Ladner, 13 at the time of his father's death, said he remembers his father teaching him and his brother the right path in life. His brother Brandon, now a Harrison County deputy, was 11 at the time. "He was a good father, the kind anyone would want," said Damon Ladner, who will celebrate his 29th birthday later this month. Even at 13, Damon Ladner, who works in his uncle's construction business in Gulfport, could tell that his dad was a deeply religious man who cared about people. He took great pride in being a Highway Patrol officer, Damon Ladner said. Kirk Ladner, the slain trooper's brother, said family members have done a lot of soul-searching over the years. They continue to try to reconcile their religious beliefs with the need to see justice carried out in Hansen's case.

Forgiveness could come, Kirk Ladner said, if Hansen accepted responsibility for his crime and the punishment it deserves. He said Hansen has shown no remorse, made no public apology to the Ladner family, and for 15 years has been trying to find a way out of the State Penitentiary at Parchman. The execution "has to be done," Kirk Ladner said, even though it will cause grief for both the Ladner and Hansen families. Kirk Ladner said he and Bruce Ladner's two sons will witness the execution.

Although the Ladner family is only allotted two seats for the execution, Kirk Ladner says Harrison County Sheriff's Department officials plan to give up a seat for the Ladner family. Hansen's execution won't bring closure for the Ladner family, Kirk Ladner believes. But it will end a chapter in their lives.

Hansen, a Florida convict with an extensive criminal record, and his girlfriend, Anita Krecic, were wanted at the time of the killing in a string of robberies in Florida that stretched from Fort Lauderdale to Gainesville, according to Florida authorities. Both were charged with murder in Ladner's death. Hansen's trial was moved to Hinds County because of pretrial publicity. He was convicted in October 1987 and sentenced to death. Krecic's trial was moved to Warren County; she was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to life in prison.

Krecic is eligible for a parole hearing in 2005, but the Ladner family will continue to ask the Parole Board to deny her request, Kirk Ladner said. Authorities believe Krecic handed the gun to Hansen that was used to kill Bruce Ladner. "After 15 years, it's time for this case to be brought to conclusion," said longtime Harrison County District Attorney Cono Caranna. "The law and the facts of the case call for the death penalty."

Joseph Gazzo Jr., a veteran trooper who was Ladner's friend and partner, agrees there will be no celebration at Hansen's execution. But it must be done, Gazzo insists, for the sake of both closure and justice. Gazzo describes Ladner as a person his friends admired. He was a good trooper, a good man, and a good family man who was a regular at his children's soccer matches and other activities, said Gazzo, now in public relations with the Highway Patrol. Time hasn't dimmed the memory and the hurt. "It strikes home," Gazzo said. "I could have been out there."

Hansen v. State 592 So. 2d 114 (Miss. 1991)

Tracy Alan Hansen was born in Florida on May 25, 1963, and then began the rest of his troubles. These included substantial abuse through a troubled childhood, frequent encounters with Florida's juvenile justice system and, between July, 1981, and October, 1984, at least ten felony convictions--eight property crimes and two escapes.

In the Spring of 1987, Hansen hooked up with Anita Louise Krecic, four years and a day his senior. On Friday, April 10, 1987, the two left Florida in a dark blue Lincoln Continental, and by approximately 6:30 p.m. they had made Mississippi and were traveling westward on Interstate Highway 10, Hansen driving, approaching the western boundary of Harrison County. This was the first week of Daylight Savings Time. The sun was shining.

David Bruce Ladner, eighteen years an officer of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol (MHSP), was assigned to the Gulf-port Substation. On this Friday afternoon, he was patrolling I-10 in Harrison County when he encountered the dark blue Lincoln Continental and observed erratic driving and speeding. Trooper Ladner pulled in behind the vehicle and signaled to the driver to pull over, which he did. Apparently at the time, Trooper Ladner foresaw nothing more serious than a traffic offense, at worst a driving-while-intoxicated. Once he had the vehicle stopped--on the north side of the road for westbound traffic--Trooper Ladner began to suspect more and asked permission to search the car. Hansen and Krecic signed a Consent to Search form, giving fictitious names, Christopher Larci-nesse and Barbara Gilbert. In the process, Ladner took the keys to the Continental and placed them in his pocket.

It is unclear exactly what happened next, but, at some point, Hansen drew a .38 caliber pistol and shot at Trooper Ladner. To avoid the fire, Ladner ran around the car and dropped to the ground, in an apparent attempt to roll underneath. Hansen managed to get off two shots at close range, each striking Ladner in the back. Still, Ladner managed to get up and make it to the median strip, where Charles Shirley, fortuitously driving through at the moment, picked him up and took him to the hospital. Ladner died some thirty-one (31) hours later--on early Sunday morning, April 12, 1987--still in the hospital.

A number of motorists passing by the area observed bits and pieces of what happened. These included William Forrest Runnels, a sales representative from Sims, Alabama; Paul Tibbetts, a pharmacist from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Donald Ray Meche, district manager for Seacorp. Industries from Mobile; Steve Diaz, a Gulf Coast resident; Sonya Burt, a seventeen-year old traveling with her parents, Janet and Frank Burt; Maria Kelly, another sev-enteen-year old; Jack Briar; Charles E. Childress; Debbie Butler, a legal secretary in Biloxi; Amanda Davis, another seven-teen-year old; Laura Migues; her traveling companion, Jack McDermott; and, of course, Charles Shirley. Kathy Ann Roma-ny, a resident of Marguerite, Florida, had been traveling west on I-10 at about the same time and had noticed the blue town-car from about Pensacola on and identified Hansen as the driver. Tibbets, Meche, and Diaz identified Hansen as the man they had seen on the side of the road on Friday evening, April 10, and Tibbetts and Meche said they saw Hansen shoot Trooper Lad-ner.

Hansen and Krecic, having been relieved of the keys to their car, fled the scene in Ladner's Highway Patrol car. They took the first exit north off I-10 and immediately pulled over a 1984 silver metallic Ford Ranger driven by Daisy Morgan, a deaf-mute. Hansen and Krecic stele Morgan's vehicle, leaving Morgan and the Patrol car on the side of the road. Morgan, who could see quite well, later identified Han-sen as the man who stole her Ranger.

Over the next several hours, Hansen and Krecic sought assistance from various Hancock County residents, presenting assorted tales of woe, the bottom line in each instance being that they wanted transportation to New Orleans. After midnight, Hansen and Krecic were still in Hancock County and made their way to the home of Pat Ladner and his family on Rocky Hill Road, in the apparent company of the Lad-ners' brother-in-law, Jody Wade, and Char-lie Williams. Some thirty minutes later, Wade and Williams agreed to take Hansen and Krecic to Waveland to find a motel room. En route they were stopped by State Troopers Freddie Keel and Darryl Deschamp, and Hansen and Krecic were taken into custody.

Hansen and Krecic were initially charged with two counts of grand larceny, no doubt referring to the two vehicles they had stolen, and Hansen was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. When Trooper Ladner died the next day, these charges were elevated to capital murder.

On May 28, 1987, the grand jury of Harrison County, Mississippi, returned an indictment charging Tracy Alan Hansen with the capital murder of David Bruce Ladner, a peace officer with the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol who was acting in his official capacity and that the killing occurred at a time when Hansen knew of that capacity. Miss.Code Ann. 97-3-19(2)(a) (Supp.1987). The indictment charged as well that Hansen was an habitual offender. Miss.Code Ann. 99-19-81 (Supp.1987). Extensive pre-trial proceedings followed, and the Circuit Court, by reason of pre-trial publicity, ordered venue changed to Hinds County.

On October 26, 1987, the Court called the case for trial sitting in Jackson, Mississippi. In due course, the jury returned a verdict that Hansen was guilty as charged. Thereafter, the trial entered the penalty phase, and, in the end, the jury returned a verdict providing, inter alia, We, the jury, unanimously find that the aggravating circumstances of: 1. The capital offense was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, and 2. The capital offense was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing lawful arrest, or effecting an escape from custody, are sufficient to impose the death penalty, and we unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt, that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances and we unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant should suffer the penalty of death.