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Man Convicted of 1955 Boys Murders

August 20, 2002

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CHICAGO (AP) _ A 69-year-old man was convicted of murder Monday for the 1955 slayings of three young boys who were strangled and dumped in a forest preserve.

Jurors deliberated only a few hours before finding Kenneth Hansen guilty. Prosecutors said Hansen picked up the boys, who were hitchhiking home from a bowling alley, took them to the horse stable where he worked, and killed them after the older boy discovered Hansen molesting the two others.

The bodies of 14-year-old Robert Peterson, 13-year-old John Schuessler and his 11-year-old brother Anton, were found in a Cook County forest preserve. An informant told federal authorities in the mid-1990s that Hansen was the killer.

``After 47 years, these three angels are finally getting some justice,″ prosecutor Thomas Biesty said Monday.

Hansen was also convicted in 1995 in the case, but that verdict was overturned in 2000 when a state appeals court ruled the trial judge should not have allowed testimony that Hansen cruised the streets to pick up boys for sex.

Hansen was sentenced to life in prison in 1995, the same sentence he could face for Monday’s conviction.

Defense attorney Leonard Goodman said he was disappointed with the verdict and insisted the state’s witnesses were unreliable.

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