COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — A man in was sentenced to two decades in prison followed by lengthy probation for multiple acts of domestic violence, according to the district attorney's office for the Coweta Judicial Circuit.
The prosecution presented compelling evidence that revealed a disturbing pattern of abuse inflicted by Christopher Halver-Gene Hansen, 36, upon the victim. The woman, who had entered a romantic relationship with Hansen in the summer of 2018, experienced escalating physical and verbal abuse, leading to her isolation from friends and family as Hansen exerted control over her.
Hansen has been sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by 20 years on probation for multiple acts of domestic violence, the DA's Office said, for charges of terroristic acts, criminal trespass, and two counts of aggravated assault under the Family Violence Act.
During the trial, Michelle Beddingfield, an expert in domestic violence, provided crucial testimony explaining the manipulation and control tactics commonly employed by abusers in intimate relationships. Beddingfield shed light on the cycle of domestic violence, emphasizing the challenges victims face when attempting to leave abusive situations and the reasons behind underreporting of such abuse.
Evidence presented at the trial included incidents that shocked the jury. In one instance, Hansen allegedly poured gasoline on the victim's head during an argument, drenching her entire body and clothes. Despite the fear of being set on fire, the victim managed to escape to the shower to wash off the gasoline. Hansen blamed her for the incident, displaying the typical behavior of an abuser by shifting blame onto the victim.
Another incident involved Hansen physically assaulting the victim, slamming her onto a coffee table after she attempted to leave the house to escape his aggression, prosecutors said. He then aimed a pistol at her face, issuing threats to prevent her from leaving him, they added.
Additional charges against Hansen included criminal trespass and theft by taking. In one incident, the DA's office said he threw a trailer hitch into the victim's windshield, shattering it during an argument. In another, Hansen strangled the victim, leaving visible bruises, before transferring $3,000 from her account without her consent after she managed to escape his harm with the help of her family.
The sentencing on May 25, carried out by Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Erica Tisinger, came after a Carroll County jury's conviction of Hansen on May 2.
The District Attorney's Office commends the bravery of the victim, now a survivor and advocate for supporting individuals in abusive relationships. Despite enduring severe physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Hansen, the office said she displayed remarkable strength during lengthy and intense cross-examination at trial.
After the trial, the woman sent a letter to the DA's office to thank them for fighting for the conviction.
"They gave me my full freedom and peace of mind again," she said. "I feel like I can finally breathe for the first time in nearly four years."
She added in the letter she hopes her story could be shared with other domestic violence victims, "when they are unsure on how they want to proceed."
If you or anyone you love is in domestic violence or abusive relationship, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).