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Cover Story

Killed For Custody Page 1

A custody battle ends with a mother’s murder.

By Carolyn Campbell
Posted // October 6,2010 -

Rod Hernandez heard his life shatter. On the afternoon of Jan. 29, 2010, his fiancee Tetyana “Tanya” Nikitina’s 9-year-old son was watching TV in the living room while Hernandez cooked pork chops for dinner. He was getting ready to pick up Nikitina’s 7-year-old daughter from school.

Phoning him at 3:37 p.m., Nikitina was walking to her car. She sat behind the steering wheel and started the engine while speaking words brimming with happiness. It was Friday, she was headed home from an employee-training session at Salt Lake Community Action Program Head Start, at 336 E. 3900 South. She repeatedly told Hernandez how much she loved him. Suddenly, she exclaimed, “Oh, my God!” Hernandez heard the phone fall. He waited four minutes without hearing her voice. Telling Nikitina’s son he would be right back and holding the phone to his ear, he rushed to the preschool where Nikitina taught. Halfway there, he heard sirens and wondered if another car had hit Nikitina’s as she left the school.

As he walked past yellow police tape, Hernandez says an officer told him, “You’re in a crime scene.” Since Nikitina had borrowed Hernandez’s car that day, he told police who he was and that his fiancee may have been in an accident driving his car. The officer told Hernandez, “Your fiancee has been shot. An ambulance took her. We will take you to where she is.”

Dale__Niki_Chan.jpgHernandez immediately called Nikitina’s ex-husband, Dale Jankowski (pictured at left), to tell him Nikitina had been shot and to ask him to pick up the children. “He said, ‘Oh, my God, bye!’” Hernandez says.

At the hospital, Hernandez waited for answers until a policeman told him that 34-year-old Nikitina had died. The medical examiner would later show the cause of death was four gunshot wounds to the head.

“A woman did this,” the officer told Hernandez. Then Hernandez heard the killer’s name: Mary Nance Hanson. Hernandez was stunned to learn that Nikitina’s former mother-in-law had murdered her.

Taunia_Flowers.jpgIt had been 11 tumultuous years since Jankowski, Hanson’s son, and Nikitina (pictured at left) had married, had two children together, divorced and then attempted to live separate lives. While a divorce decree was issued in 2006, court documents show that hot-button issues of custody and child support continued to fester between the couple. Nikitina had sought out two protective orders in the intervening years and reportedly feared for her life.

“Ultimately, we all know why this happened,” Hernandez says. “If Dale had treated Tanya with respect, realized that his children love her as much they love him and that anything that happens to her also happens to them, there wouldn’t have been this outcome. If that conflict hadn’t been there, Tanya would still be alive.”

Jankowski, 45, calmly insists he had nothing to do with the murder. He says that he felt a similar tremendous shock after Hernandez called him to pick up the children, phoning later to let him know that Nikitina was dead. “My heart was breaking for my kids. I knew that they needed their mother and father, and now they weren’t going to have their mother in their life.”

He remembers Hernandez telling him that his mother was the killer. “I literally became incapacitated and couldn’t think or do anything. I kind of went into zombie mode. It was the most difficult drive I’ve ever had, having to take the kids back to the house. The worst part was, in the same day, I lost my mom, and my kids lost their mom and their grandmother.”

 Mommy Dearest.
Just who their grandmother is and why she shot Nikitina may have to remain a mystery.

According to Jankowski, prior to the attack, his mother had parked her car at his workplace, a mortgage title company. He says she had just become uncomfortable driving. When they talked earlier that day and she mentioned she was concerned about her car, “I thought she was going downtown to a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment.”

MotherinLaw.jpgInstead, police say, Hanson (pictured at right) walked about a mile to the preschool where Nikitina worked as an assistant teacher. As Nikitina got in her car, witnesses say, Hanson approached and fired several rounds from a .38-caliber revolver at her former daughter-in-law, then allegedly reloaded, opened the car door and fired several more rounds. She then dialed 911, reported her crime and waited for police to come. When asked why she shot Nikitina, Hanson reportedly told the 911 operator, “I don’t know, and that’s all I’m going to say.”

While news media reported that Hanson held a concealed-weapon permit, Jankowski maintains he never knew she had a gun.

The 71-year-old Taylorsville woman was booked into jail and charged with murder. She pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court on Aug. 18. In a letter that Hanson wrote to Judge William Barrett in April, she explained why she would be pleading guilty: “My physical health is deteriorating rapidly, and I do not believe it would be in the best interests of taxpayers or of myself to pursue a trial.”

In the courtroom, Hanson told the judge, “I would like to be sent forthwith to the prison, and I would like to request death by lethal injection.”

When told her case was not eligible for the death penalty, Hanson reportedly told the judge: “Well, then, I guess I didn’t do a good enough job.”

Such a remark can only make the incredulous public ask: How is Hanson’s not a death-penalty case? Alicia Cook, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case, explains the death penalty can only be sought if certain statutory elements, or aggravators, are present. Examples of aggravators include if the defendant killed more than one person, if the defendant murdered while committing other offenses such as a sexual assault, or if the defendant used a device, such as a bomb. “That is what we are limited to,” says Cook. “The statute very clearly lays out for us what needs to present to file a death-penalty case.

In her 10 years as a prosecutor, though, Cook has never experienced a defendant requesting the death penalty. “This is a baffling and sad case, in which two children lost their mother, a fiance has lost the person he was going to spend his life with and a sister lost her only sibling. It’s a sad case that we took very seriously. There was no plea bargain. The defendant pleaded to exactly what she was charged with, and the only possible sentence for the defendant is prison [15 years to life].” Hanson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8 Oct. 22 [Hanson's defense asked for and was granted a continuance].

Jankowski says that, on the night of the murder, police took him in to question him for an hour and a half while other officers simultaneously searched his home and computer “for anything that would link what my mom had just done with me. They concluded that I had nothing to do with it in any way, shape or form.”

Growing up, Jankowski says he doesn’t recall his mom having violent tendencies. He remembers about “as normal a childhood as possible in a single-parent family.” After his parents split, his mom worked a variety of jobs—“not particularly professional-type jobs.” She worked at BYU Food Services and went back to school to study drafting. His mom took him and his siblings fossil hunting and camping. He says she “parented out of the ’60s, when spankings were OK,” but it didn’t happen that often.

Recently, his mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and he realized she might not be around much longer. He wanted to build memories with her and the children.

Most of his mother’s grandchildren are older—many are grown—and spending time with his son and daughter gave Hanson a renewed opportunity to grandparent younger children, after the others “had their own lives.”

While his mother expressed anger at the custody situation with his ex-wife, Jankowski says she never hinted she planned to kill Nikitina. “I wish there had been something that would have indicated a different outcome,” he laments. “It was so tragic that the only thing she could think to do was to take away the kids’ mother.”

Hanson declined to be interviewed by City Weekly.

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Posted // October 19,2010 at 10:45

Tom M, please shut up. You are annoying, illogical, and crazy. You obviously hate anything with a vagina...GO TO THERAPY!


Posted // October 19,2010 at 23:59 - Look who's opposed to true equality, and so full of hate as to continue supporting the UDVC hate-agenda driving these types of murders and so much more... Good job there!


Posted // October 11,2010 at 13:55

Hey Tom, Bitter much? I guess it's OK that a mother gets brutally murdered so the "father" can finally have his just dues? Now that's justice, for YOU, right?


Posted // October 13,2010 at 00:43 - correction: ...with AMOM'S SUPPORT in this case too.


Posted // October 13,2010 at 00:41 - DadDave, Horrified is right! And the UDVC associates direct and run that crime mill with their parasitic domestic violence machinery which they get the media to support. Either the media or UDVC could have so very easily stopped this and so many other DV injuries and murders, which they instead, conciously chose to continue driving and profitting from instead, with YOUR SUPPORT in this case too. THAT'S how much the UDVC and most media care about women - THIS CASE ESPECIALLY.


Posted // October 12,2010 at 22:27 - (AMOM) i can see that it was ok to destroy the family frist the father then the children and finally the mother. how are you looking at things would be looking at the period at the end of a sentence and never read the beginning middle and end. this story has empty spots which you can fill in. example 50 /50 custady till judge awarded mother full custady after she made progress. but yet father allready was past that progress and lost the right to parent hes children equally ( can you see that ) and im not a investagator i sure can see that in the story in itself. Its more traget the system allowed or even pushed this mother to make false allegations (lies) and never be charged with a crime. what many men see that she was a gold digger and the 5 f type of women . most men dont want to be involved anymore since the system of justice allready has destroyed there right to be part of a family and why do it again. whats really sad how the police/investagator treated this grandma even with her hands up and cuffs on . purpossly step on her eye glasses after she asked to have them picked up for her. now is that justice they are just as criminal. you should be outraged just because of that. there is curruption of the highest levels that our citizens are forced to deal with. ( are you or anyone in your family NEXT ) time will tell when it does yu can remember theres people out there trying to stop the beginning of the abuse cycle and people with distorted thinking errors and making money hand over fist to destroy the constitution and families. so never see the end ( like a period) see what really causes these type of things to happen. thats where im at and thats where Toms at. bitter is a understatement im horrified whats going on in our country.


Posted // October 11,2010 at 19:05 - AMOM, Yes, I am absolutely bitter that YOU and your sick buddies support the UDVC (Utah Domestic Violence Council), police, courts and hangers-on in this particular murder and so many more driven by them just like this one. These warped serial-killer style murders of so many women are selfishly headed up knowingly for profit and power by your heroes? Why don't you really give a care? Why do you revel in defending the real murderers in these deaths, who will continue orchestrating these murders because of your support??? Only two reasons anyone supports this very well planned and predictable, parasitic murderous rot. 1- You are evil. 2- You are very ignorant. So what is your excuse for supporting abuse and murder, AMOM, ignorant or evil???


Posted // October 10,2010 at 18:25

I'd like to set some inconsistencies in this story straight. But first, I'd like to thank the City Weekly for several articles previous to this one which did shed a lot of light on the full truth about discrimination against and abuse of fathers and their children by both the system and by abusive women and their support organizations. Those truths don't surface very often in the media as a whole, due to hostile hate-agenda news sources which most of the media solely rely upon for domestic violence reporting.

1- The article show bias in favor of the views/propaganda of the UDVC (Utah Domestic Violence Council - anti-father-central) and their associates (such as Head Start). We see this bias and anti-father hate-group problem consistently when UDVC associates are relied on for the majority or all of the information for media news stories. This story has several items which blast Jankowski (and men and fathers in general) as being the root problem and contention causers. Not true at all, not even in this case. It was the mother (as in so many other DV/divorce murder cases) who had made repeated false abuse allegations (very serious abuse against spouse, children and society) and also violated court ordered parent time orders. This article makes it sound like Hansen wanted the children to ONLY be with their father, while the fact was that she only wanted court orders to be followed by Nikitina as equally by her son, which Nikitina unilaterally refused to do. Too often entitled, abusive women make up the majority of similar murders since they must always be in control, at the helm and make all decisions for EVERYONE (abusive characteristic?). Truth and justice are of no concern to them. The courts actually help and encourage and reward abusive drama queens to abuse, manipulate and constantly harass and abuse the fathers and children... This is a pandemic. Some few of these myriad targeted fathers see no end to the ongoing abuse and see the only means to stopping the constant abuse is to stop the abuser. they often don't see who all is behind the abuse or that most of this would never occur if it were not being coached and rewarded behind the scenes. Nobody will help these abused men and their children, esp not the UDVC or their bought and paid for courts, no matter how many times they take the abuse to the police or back to court to try to get it to stop. This does not make the father the bad guy for trying to stop the abuse, as suggested in this article like many others... Jankowski was NOT one of those types of few fathers who retaliate to end the constant abuse of themselves and their children. It takes about 500 to 1000 of these very abusive woman/mother cases to produce just one father who fights back like this, or as the grandmother did in this case (a surprise to all, including me).

2- We would all understand this same story if the genders were reversed. Most would certainly feel the murder was either justified or that the result was the unstoppable result of abuse if genders were reversed and the father was the abuser instead of the mother. Jankowski seems to be like most fathers, trying everything they can to win people over to believe/know for sure that they are not the abusers, and never have been, which they are constantly being accused of being. That's a hard rap to beat when the UDVC and media constantly teach that men are suspect and dangerous, when nothing could be further from the truth. Thus, most fathers in this situation are like Jankowski, they would never dream of retaliating against their abuser(s) and supporters - courts, police, prosecutors, media, etc... They refrain not only because they were non-violent all along, but also to prove their real non-abusive nature beyond a doubt to all. This is part of why so many mothers get away with tremendous never-ending abuse of spouse/ex and children while everybody sides with the abusive moms. The UDVC teaches all agencies they can that their anti-father lies, propaganda and agenda to break up families is the sole truth, not to be questioned. Very unfortunately most media do not question them.

3- This case also seems most likely related to the scam of foreign women coming here and discovering the best fast-track to citizenship and prize money is to simply falsely claim domestic abuse! It's faster, more sure, and they get more benefits for this too (free education, housing assistance, extra money from their victims, etc...), if they don't mind being shady and abusive. This immigrant abuse and false allegation scam is popular among illegals too, and goes on all across the US and has been reported on many times. Domestic Violence Coalitions all over the US recruit and coach and reward women for doing this and much, much more abusive, family-destructive and society-destructive behavior.

4- These politically correct, entrenched and well funded anti-father hate groups (DV Coalitions) are very active, which nationally act as central authority for pushing their very destructive hate-agenda. BUT, the real point is this: Even if these DV Coalition hate-groups desire to remain sexist and supremacist, just caring about women only, then WHY, WHY, WHY do they support the lies and hate-agenda which not only targets men and fathers but also must grind up so many women and esp their children as in this and so many other cases??? It has repeatedly been demonstrated that what puts women at highest risk of domestic violence injuries and death is THEIR OWN PRIMARY INITIATION of VIOLENCE against men in the first place. The Dept of Justice's BIG bilateral DV Partner Abuse Study showed that 71% of unilateral partner violence (committed by just one partner alone) is perpetrated by the WOMEN (71%!), not by the men, as was admitted by BOTH the women and men in this study (and in many more). Other studies likewise show that most mutual violence is started by the women being physically violent first and more often repeatedly violent before retaliation and self defense finally turns that unilateral partner violence into mutual violence "all along." Bottom line: If the DV Coalitions would tell the truth by first warning women and girls to NEVER hit a boy or man, to never be abusers themselves, for their own primary safety, we would not be seeing so many of these cases and related cases which start more often with violent women not men. This double-standard hate-agenda is directly responsible for this case and so many others. Remember, double standards are nothing short of supremacy and abuse. But for as long as UDVC assures that one gender remains supreme over the other (double standards) we will very unfortunately continue to see these the current escalated number of these stories for the duration of that hate-group discrimination against men and fathers.

Search: Researcher Says Women's Initiation of Domestic Violence Predicts Risk to Women

My advice to the media - get both sides, and remember, the UDVC has been proven over and over to be nothing less than a vitriolic supremacist hate group to the dire detriment of women too, and especially children most of all. You can't attack good fathers and not destroy the WHOLE family and society... Please, in the future, interview both sides, as ussually only the SLC Weekly ussually does!


Posted // October 10,2010 at 22:42 - DadDave, Yes, police like that (most of them support the UDVC abuse machinery) are part of the orchestration of most DV injuries and murders to women - the direct result of them helping women abuse men and children non-stop, with impunity, in so many ways. You are the fifth or sixth person I heard tell of Tanya (ONLY her, not Dale) being abusive, along with support from all those agencies and self-centered agencies supporting her, including Head Start. I used to be on the Head Start Parents Board, and I got an education for how they supported the anti-male movement (dads are bad if women say they are)... Head Start is tight with this hate-agenda - the DV Coalitions, DCFS, etc... who are behind all of this real abuse and orchestrating murders much like this one, non-stop. This is just another of so many cases we keep finding where the motive for murder was non-stop abusive mothers driven by an even more abusive system which is so sick and disgusting. From all I have heard, this sick system also rewarded her for abusing the children psychologically (as they ussually do) through parental alienation child abuse (convincing the children that dad and his whole side of the family are evil). So, yes, grandmothers and all family on one whole side are abused by the mother and the whole system too, and sent the huge bill for it. children kidnapped and the "ransom" request is sent by the court, not for any bad actions or choices made by these fathers, but solely because they are fathers (same pattern as Nazis and Jews...). But the children get abused worst of all in this denied and condoned abuse by the UDVC. Yes, the article did allow a lot of insight if you know what's really going on, though the SLC Weekly did let much more info through here than the worst - deseret News, followed by KSL. But this article was still tilted toward UDVC hate-agenda. Unfortunately this article gave voice and legitimacy to anti-father, anti-family YWCA and one of their type of attorneys spreading lies, propaganda and hysteria - that's just really sad... Lots of dads leave abusive women and go on to the next one, much like Hernandez did, and many just don't get the full picture. They believe the abusive women and don't understand what she really is all about until much later when it's too late and she does the same to him. But then a lot of them still don't get the big picture that this is such a rampant scenario. It's very sad that over half of divorced or single mothers are very abusive and dangerous to men and children, but are supported wholeheartedly by the UDVC. Over half of these mothers have made false abuse allegations have committed and are often still committing all the other abuse accompanying false abuse allegations, very serious abuse itself... The article also told that mediation didn't work (as if it was the father's fault) yet they omitted the part about why mediation failed in this specific case and so many others: because mothers are told to not compromise for any equality of parenthood. Mothers are told that if they are disagreeable and abusive in mediation and make more false allegations that they will win everything by default - full some custody AND extra money for lying - and the corrupt system driving and rewarding this corruption and abuse is specifically why for most of these murders and so much more. Of course Tanya refused equal parenting (equality - all that Jankowski asked for, which is by far best for the kids and for BOTH parents - why shouldn't he want that, as if that is "evil!") because she can win all, at the expense of the children, father, herself and all society? Why does most of the media support this soooo much more than SLC Weekly? Hernandez will never know the trouble he was diving headlong into, as so many other fathers do and then only figure out only the second time around. I've talked to too many abused and scammed fathers who sympathize with their next wife, some even trying to adopt her kids to save them from their "abusive" real dads(!!!). Only too late do they find out they too get scammed and abused. Hernandez will never know that. Real men and women know about all of this. Real women and men speak out against it and don't get sucked in by these abusive drama queens and their entourage of UDVC supporters/affiliates. Anyone daring to put the truth out there will be bitterly attacked by UDVC media-watchers and also by what Marxists have long called "useful idiots." Many prominent feminists who eventually founded and became affiliated with NOW (the organization which helps head all of this up) declared that this current form of feminism (UDVC/NOW-style) would do three things: 1- Target and destroy the traditional family. 2- Turn society upside down to run it all their way. 3- To do the first two in order to best implement socialism in the USA. NOW ran it's own Socialist United States Presidential Candidate in 2004. NOW declared in 2008 that both Obama or Hillary were sufficiently supportive of their agenda and did not run their own socialist presidential candidate that year. People are so asleep and complacent. Even many fathers attacked don't know what hit them and their kids. The UDVC and NOW laugh all the way to the bank about all they can get away with (for money and power) and the broad support they so easily get from media and the "justice" system and hangers-on. You are right, jail should be automatic sentence for all false abuse accusers - a sentence equal to or greater than the sentence they sought for their falsely accused victim, plus additional sentence added for the abuse of their children by doing this along with the automatic parental alienation child abuse which always predictably follows. False abuse accusers are the very most abusive and dangerous parents of all. They also should never be able to be around their kids unsupervised even again. Yet the UDVC defends these mothers and assures that they never will be prosecuted. How American is this? Sounds just like self-proclaimed Marxist NOW, that's all... NOW and DV coaltions like the UDVC are behind these cases and they assure that the oppostie of justice prevails regularly in about 2,000,000 new cases each year which add up fast. That's a LOT of abused children and fathers, along with the huge costs to all society for being willing to be duped so badly and failing to chase these snake-oil salesmen/women out of town.


Posted // October 10,2010 at 21:19 - you are very right tom. after knowing Nance Hanson she was a very nice polite ladie. my neighbor and i were having troubles see our children and Nance saw that frist Hand. Nance even went with me to watch me get denied parentime one weekend and was refused by sunset police even when i had fresh court orders to see my children that weekend. the police report was only half truth and never said i had court papers for parentime. Thank you sunset POLICE part of the abuse promblem and also part of this murder. they only worried if i had a warrent or a protective order agaisnt me from being there or throw my fatherhood in jail. i have meet the children and nitikita and dale one 2 occasions i never seen any type of abuse from dale only from Nitikita throwing a fit to leave from grandmas place. i feel sorry for the man she was going to marry from hes past not being able to share a life with hes children also. the sad thing is was he next to go through a gender biased system with nitikita like it or not might saved him many promblems down the road. it does say she had money troubles in lawyer fees for nitikita thats how DV gets you involved and slowly destroys you from fees(lawyers) that should be placed towards the children well being . TOM you have studied alot more than i have and had to help more than myself and you have put the truth out there the best you can. the ones who think you are crazy are the ones who are in denial or within the abusive cycle themselves keeping it going to load there pockets full of our families cash and all the tax payors grant monies from the Feds. lets stop this cycle of abuse by frist starting over without gender bias and jail for false allegations from ethier party. slowly u will see that there will be alot of unemployed state workers which will lower taxes and free up our jails. Nance feels she did wrong from a letter she wrote me and whished she never did what she did and ask to be forgiven for her bad thinking of killing. and i want to thank SLC weekly for great news which i have read for a while now keep up the other side of the stories knock those others into bankruptcy. theres alot that read your newspaper