Newton man charged in brutal killing of wife after wife gets restraining order

Newton District Court

A Newton man was arraigned Monday for allegedly beating his wife to death with a baseball bat over the weekend, less than a week after a restraining order was issued against him.

Police say Richard Hanson, 64, is charged with attacking his wife, Nancy Hanson, 54, in their Brookline Street home on Saturday evening. A juvenile who was at the Hanson home that night called 911 and told them his father was hitting his mother with a baseball bat, according to Assistant District Attorney Megan McGovern.

When police arrived, they found Richard Hanson in the driveway covered in blood and Nancy Hanson inside the home suffering from blunt-force injuries. Richard Hanson was charged with assault with attempt to murder. Nancy Hanson was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she died.

“The preliminary investigation suggests that during the physical altercation Richard Hanson allegedly struck his wife with one or more objects multiple times,” Newton Police Chief John Carmichael Jr. wrote in a statement. “The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the death a homicide and the cause of death was blunt force trauma. We do anticipate additional charges.”

Richard Hanson’s charges were upgraded to murder.

McGovern said the autopsy revealed that Nancy Hanson suffered two broken forearms, several broken ribs, multiple skull injuries and a bruised torso.

The killing comes just days after a court granted Nancy Hanson a restraining order against Richard Hanson. Newton police had been attempting to serve Richard Hanson with the restraining order—filed on July 13—when the killing occurred, Carmichael’s statement continued.

And Nancy Hanson had filed a restraining order against him two years ago, McGovern said, adding that Richard Hanson had violated that restraining order, too.

Hanson was ordered held without bail Monday.

This is the second high-profile murder in Newton in less than a month. In late June, a man was charged with murdering three people in a Newton home.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller released a statement Sunday night expressing grief that “another horrific tragedy” had struck the city.

“I know I speak for everyone in Newton when I say my heart goes out to the woman’s family and friends. The woman who was murdered appears to be the victim of domestic violence,” Fuller said, noting that the suspect was under arrest and in custody. “Relationship violence is all too prevalent in our country and Newton is no exception.”