A jury of 12 resumed deliberations Friday to decide whether or not Robert Swanton should spend the rest of his life in jail for killing Melissa Hansen in March 2015.

Swanton is accused of killing Hansen – whom he called his friend – by stabbing her more than a dozen times, including in the chest and neck. He was charged in April 2015 with first degree intentional homicide and faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

The trial got underway Tuesday, and could wrap up as early as Friday.

The Journal Times is reporting that Swanton and Hansen smoked crack cocaine together the night of March 6 and that Hansen showed Swanton a collection of knives she inherited from her father when he died. Hansen reportedly made Swanton nervous by walking around her apartment, and he told police that he heard people outside who he thought were going to kill the both of them.

“He said he and Melissa Hansen were gonna get shot anyways, so he killed Melissa Hansen,” Racine police Investigator Joseph Spaulding is quoted as testifying.

Defense Attorney Michael Plaisted told the jury that Swanton’s history of mental illness contributed to his actions that night and that his client didn’t intentionally kill Hansen.

Swanton remains in the Racine County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond.


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