DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. — A Riverside County jury decided Thursday that a man should face the death penalty for killing his 2-month-old daughter in Desert Hot Springs and leaving her remains in an Arkansas storage unit, prosecutors said.
Jason Michael Hann, 39, was convicted by a jury Tuesday of one count of first-degree murder and another of assault on a child resulting in death, according to a statement from the Riverside County district attorney’s office.
Jurors also found true the special circumstances allegation of a previous murder conviction, which prompted the district attorney to seek the death penalty.
The decomposing remains of the baby girl were found in February 2002 in a plastic container in an Arkansas storage unit. The body was found when the contents of the space were going to be sold because the unit’s renter failed to pay the bill.
Authorities found Hann and his girlfriend, Krissy Werntz, were the renters, and the couple were tracked down in Portland, Maine, where they were arrested in April 2002.
Close to the time of the arrest, authorities found the couple’s third child, a boy who was about a month old, had life-threatening injuries, including a dozen rib fractures and retinal hemorrhages.
During questioning, Hann told investigators the girl found in Arkansas had died in Desert Hot Springs in 2001.
The day after the arrest, police found the remains of another of the couple’s children, this one a boy less than 2 months old, in an Arizona storage unit.
That child had been killed in July 1999 in Vermont, and his remains were kept in a plastic container for more than a year before they rented the Arizona unit in December 2000.
Hann was convicted in February 2006 in Vermont of second-degree murder for that baby’s death and sentenced to 27 to 30 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services