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Supreme Court hears Muhlenberg Co. murder case

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Sarah Hansen Sarah Hansen
MUHLENBERG CO., KY (WFIE) -

For the first time in Muhlenberg County, a local case is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. 
 
Justices will consider whether to allow a new sentencing hearing for a man who confessed to killing 16-year-old Sarah Hansen in 1997.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the 1997 Kentucky death penalty case against Robert Keith Woodall.

Justices will decide in the next few months whether Woodall, because of an error, deserves a new sentencing, while prosecutors fight for the death penalty.

Woodall admitted to raping and murdering Hansen, who was an athlete, student, and cheerleader.

The memory of finding her body still haunts one Greenville police officer.

"We've had cases before. We've had murder cases before in the county, but nothing that devastated the community like this. This was an innocent 16-year-old girl," officer Duane Harvey. 

The lead Kentucky State Police investigator took it personal.

"I'm from this community. I knew the family. I knew the victim. It occurred less than a mile from my home," said Ed Dearmond, the former KSP investigator on the Hansen case.

Family, citizens, and investigators want what they haven't had for 17 years.

"If it comes to a point where the U.S. Supreme Court reverses the 6th circuit and reinstates the death penalty, I think it will give the family and this community, a lot of us, closure," Dearmond said.

One of the seven pillars of the Greenville community is faith, represented by a statue that's funded by the Sarah Hansen fund, and sitting less than a mile from where she was taken.

17 years have culminated into this day in court, but the community says they have to have faith in the justice system, but more importantly, faith in each other.  

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