Man accused of beating wife to death in Newton faces a judge

NEWTON, Mass. — A Newton man is being held without bail, facing charges in connection with a deadly assault on his wife in their home on Saturday night, two days after a restraining order was taken out against him, authorities said Sunday.

Richard Hanson, 64, has been charged with assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury in connection with the death of his wife, 54-year-old Nancy Hanson, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Newton Chief of Police John Carmichael said in a statement.

Nancy Hanson died two days after a restraining order was issued against her husband on Thursday in Newton District Court, which Newton Police had been attempting to serve, Ryan said.

According to sources, officers hadn’t been able to locate Hanson to serve that restraining order despite trying to find them several times.

At approximately 8:21 p.m. Saturday, a juvenile inside the couple’s Brookline Street home called 911 to report the ongoing assault, Ryan said. When police arrived, they found Nancy Hanson suffering from apparent blunt force injuries, Ryan said. She was taken by ambulance to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she died.

A preliminary investigation found that during a physical altercation, Richard Hanson allegedly struck his wife with one or more objects multiple times, Ryan said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the death a homicide and the cause of death was blunt force trauma, Ryan said.

Investigators said they anticipate additional charges.

The murder of his next-door neighbor Nancy Hanson brought an overwhelming sadness to Mark Staz and his family who recall her making an instant impression when they moved to Newton’s Oak Hill neighborhood.

“She was a really nice person and was the first one to welcome us to the community when we moved here a year ago,” said Staz. “The first thing we did, my wife went outside to the police officer and said if the kids need a place to come, bring them by.”

Staz told Boston 25 News that the Hansons have three boys, the youngest of which just finished 5th grade at Memorial Spaulding Elementary.

“We have three kids of our own just to think about what that trauma would be for a child is devastating,” said Staz. “You would just hear kids playing. Their kids play basketball, they play baseball in the backyard. They skateboard back there so we hear that but not fighting.”

In a statement Sunday, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller called Saturday’s incident “another horrific tragedy in Newton.”

“I know I speak for everyone in Newton when I say my heart goes out to the woman’s family and friends,” Fuller said. “The woman who was murdered appears to be the victim of domestic violence. The victim’s husband was arrested at the scene by Newton police officers after responding to a 911 call and he remains in the custody of the Newton Police Department.”

“Relationship violence is all too prevalent in our country and Newton is no exception,” Fuller said. “If you or anyone you care about is being mistreated or feels that their choices are being taken away by a partner, click here for a list of area resources.”

Nancy Hanson’s death follows the killings of three people in their Newton home last month. Jill and Bruno D’Amore and Jill’s mother, Lucia Arpino, were found stabbed and bludgeoned to death in their Broadway Street home on June 25. Christopher Ferguson, 41, of Newton, is facing murder charges in that case.

The mayor said the community is still reeling over those killings.

“I am writing this just three weeks after the tragic murders of Jill and Bruno D’Amore and Jill’s mother, Lucia Arpino,” Fuller said. “Our community is reeling, and I know so many of us are feeling unsettled. This is the time to reach out to family, friends, faith leaders, and mental health professionals rather than hunkering down and going it alone.”

The couple’s children have been taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families, a DCF spokesperson told Boston 25 News.

An investigation is ongoing by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to Ryan’s office and Newton Police.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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