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Former Emergency Management Coordinator Gets 50 Years for Murder

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WASHINGTON, Iowa -- Former Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Thomas Hansen was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Friday following a second-degree murder conviction in which he shot and killed his live-in girlfriend Sheron Gerot.

Hansen, 72, will have to serve at least 35 years of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole. He was also ordered to pay $150,000 to Gerot's estate.

The sentencing comes after Hansen was convicted of firing a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun at the 54-year-old woman, with whom he had been living with for 10 years, during an argument while she was mowing the lawn in May 2011. Hansen testified that the single bullet that struck Gerot in the head was only meant to scare her during an argument. He told a jury that she had been abusing him for a years and that she had previously threatened him and waved a gun at him, but the incident was an accident.

The two had been planning to work at Yellowstone National Park later that month.

Hansen's attorney's, who told the Gazette they believed this was a manslaughter case, said they plan to appeal the verdict. He was originally charged with first-degree murder.

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