INDIO (CBSLA.com) — A jury recommended death for a man, called a “serial baby killer” by a prosecutor, who was convicted of killing his 2-month-old daughter and kept her body in a plastic container for a year.
Jason Michael Hann, who turned 39 Thursday, was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder and assault on a child causing great bodily injury. Jurors also found true a special circumstance allegation of having a previous murder conviction, qualifying him for the death penalty.
Jurors deliberated about half a day before deciding Hann should be put to death, rather than spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Krissy Lynn Werntz, the baby’s 34-year-old mother and Hann’s then-girlfriend, has also been charged with murder and will be tried separately.
Prosecutors say Hann struck the girl, named Montana, in the head, inflicting fatal skull injuries, wrapped her head in duct tape and her body in trash bags and placed her in a Tupperware container. That container was put in another trash bag and kept inside a trailer for a year at an Arkansas storage unit. When Hann and Wentz stopped making payments, the trailer was auctioned off to an Arkansas man, who discovered the bag in February, 2002.
“Our prosecutor brought out to the jury in the penalty phase in this trial that Montana, our victim here from Desert Hot Springs, actually — her remains spent more time in this plastic container than she did than when she was alive,” Riverside DA spokesman John Hall said.
The day after the couple was arrested, police found the remains of another child, a boy less than 2 months old, in a plastic container inside a storage unit in Arizona. That baby, named Jason, had been killed in July 1999 in Vermont. Hann entered a no-contest plea to second-degree murder in Jason’s death and was sentenced to 27 to 30 years in prison in February 2006. Werntz was not charged in that case.
A third child, a month-old baby named Michael, had skull, femur and rib fractures and was on the “brink of death” when he was found, a prosecutor said. That boy was later adopted and renamed.
Hann is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 21.
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