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Valrico murder suspect committed new crimes within a month of getting out of jail

Suspect released early after getting life sentence
James Hanson 2
Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 07, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- Since he was a teenager, James Hanson hasn't spent more than a month out of jail or prison. He was re-arrested for an armed robbery within weeks after each time he was released.

Hanson spent some of his teenage years in a home on West Sitka Street in Tampa.

Neighbors say when he moved in, things changed for the worse.

“Strange things were going on in our neighborhood, very strange,” said Christina Philips, who lives down the street from where Hanson grew up.

She says items went missing from her home, but she never called police.

RELATED: Suspect strangled carjacking victim with belt, stole his clothes before leaving him in bushes, affidavit says

Instead, she says she spoke with Hanson's mother.

Her stuff was later returned.

“This was just kids doing stupid things here,” she said.

But in 1996, months after Hanson turned 16, he faced his first adult felony charges, including armed burglary and grand theft.

And just days after posting bond, records show Hanson fled to Raleigh, N.C., where he robbed two convenience stores at gunpoint on Christmas Eve.

He spent five and a half years in prison for those crimes

On July 2, 2002, less than a month after being released from North Carolina prison, Hanson robbed what the AmSouth Bank on Armenia Avenue.

He threatened to shoot employees with an assault rifle that he hid in one of the legs of his pants if they didn't hand over the money.

We spoke with one of those employees who said even after 17 years, they were too traumatized to talk about it.

Hanson was sentenced to life in prison as a habitual violent felony offender.

He later appealed and received a reduced sentence of 20 years.

On Tuesday, less than five weeks after getting out of prison, deputies say Hanson robbed another bank at gunpoint, car-jacked a bank customer, then murdered him.

“He’s dangerous for society. He's very dangerous for society,” said Philips.

Hanson is now being held without bond in the Hillsborough County jail.

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