Wearing a suicide vest, homicide suspect Robert Swanton was held on a $500,000 cash bond at his first appearance in Racine County Felony Court on Monday, April 13 for the murder of Melissa Hansen.

Swanton, 31, of Racine, was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with 1st degree homicide. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison plus five years.

Hansen was killed March 7 in her apartment in the 4000 block of Erie St. She leaves behind three children.

In her obituary at Marsh, Meredith and Acklam Funeral Home, she is remembered as intelligent and talented with a big heart.

According to the criminal complaint, a family member of Hansen’s found her dead inside her apartment from multiple stab wounds. Investigators with the Racine Police Department found blood on the refrigerator, kitchen floor, and bedroom floor. They also found a bloody black handled fixed blade knife and bloody wooden handled fillet knife on the floor, a makeup bag that had Hansen’s medication inside and prescription pills were found on the bed.

On Hansen’s cell phone, investigators found a text message from Swanton telling her: “If you don’t answer the phone, I’m going to come looking for you.”

Swanton was found laying in the street at Marquette and Thunderbird drive at 2:51 a.m. March 7, which investigators believe was just after Hansen’s death.

Wearing a t-shirt and no coat, Swanton was “cold to the touch and very wet.” Rescue staff from the Racine Fire Department took Swanton to the emergency room, but he wasn’t responsive to their questions.

Investigators found Swanton’s DNA on the handle of the knife used kill Hansen. His black hooded jacket and long-sleeved shirt in the kitchen were also found in the kitchen soaked in blood.

An official with the State Crime Lab told investigators that Swanton’s trail shoes, which he was wearing the night of Hansen’s death, had Hansen’s blood on them. However, not all the DNA analysis has been completed.

Swanton was taken into police custody on April 10.

A preliminary hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. April 22 in front of Racine County Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch.

 

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.