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Judge Sets $1 Million Bond For Murder Suspect

April 17, 2014, 6:03 PM by Brady Mallory

Judge Sets $1 Million Bond For Murder Suspect
John Senn

CANTON, SD -

A Lincoln County judge has set bond at $1 million for the man accused of stabbing a Sioux Falls woman to death. 41-year-old John Senn faces murder, robbery, and burglary charges. 

Police arrested Senn on Wednesday after they found 53-year-old Brenda Hansen dead in her home. 

Senn sat quietly in court, as the judge read him his list of charges.  He could face life in prison.  The death penalty is also a possibility if he is found guilty of pre-meditated murder. 

"Initial reports were of a woman who had been in an altercation and was bleeding," Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel said.

Barthel said Hansen had been stabbed several times when officers found her.  Police are still looking for the knife.

"It's possible the knife may be in like a grocery-type bag, possibly a HyVee bag and there may actually be some gloves along with that.  Likely the knife would have blood on it.  We would ask the public, if they happen to come across it, not to touch it," Barthel said.

The Sioux Falls Police Department was able to locate the weapon and gloves used in the crime. They will bring further updates at Friday's briefing.

As for the man accused of using the weapon, Barthel said it only took 30 minutes to find and arrest Senn.  Officers arrested him at a home he was staying at about three miles away from where the crime happened.  Hansen had roommates who saw the suspect leaving the home and wrote down a license plate number from his car.  Barthel said it appears Senn stole oxycontin pills from Hansen's house.

"There was somewhat of a drug connection there.  Whether or not there was an actual drug dealing, or that sort of thing happening in the residence, it's hard to say at this point," Barthel said.

Barthel said it appears Senn had been to Hansen's home on prior occasions, and the two knew each other.  However, he added the two were not dating, but did not confirm how they were acquainted.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what exactly happened.

"It's an unfortunate incident.  Our hearts certainly go out to the Hansen family," Barthel said.

Lincoln County State's Attorney Tom Wollman said more charges could come as the investigation continues.  Senn will be in court on April 29.

A memorial fund has been set up for Brenda Hansen's family at any Home Federal bank.

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