Former Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Thomas Hansen was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Friday after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his live-in girlfriend, Sheron Gerot, in May 2011.
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 Gerot, with whom he had been living with for 10 years, after the two argued while while Gerot was mowing the lawn in May 2011.
Hansen testified that the single bullet that struck Gerot, 54, in the head was only meant to scare her. He told a jury that Gerot had been abusing him for years, and that she had previously threatened him and waved a gun at him, but the shooting itself was an accident.
The two had been planning to work at Yellowstone National Park later in May 2011.
Hansen’s attorney’s, who told The Gazette they believed this was a manslaughter case, said they plan to appeal the verdict. Hansen was originally charged with first-degree murder.