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Jantzen wants his guns returned

A former Valley City, N.D., bar owner who will be sentenced Monday for three murders wants the state to return his gun collection. Daniel Lee "Scrubby" Jantzen is a convicted felon and won't get his guns or anything else back, Barnes County State...

A former Valley City, N.D., bar owner who will be sentenced Monday for three murders wants the state to return his gun collection.

Daniel Lee "Scrubby" Jantzen is a convicted felon and won't get his guns or anything else back, Barnes County State's Attorney Robin Huseby said.

However, the men to whom Jantzen granted power of attorney want to liquidate his guns, Huseby said.

"It's hard for me to take the position that he (Jantzen) should be able to take back all these weapons -- even though they weren't used in the crime -- when we've got these other obligations that need to be paid," she said.

Jantzen, 56, pleaded guilty in October to shooting to death his ex-girlfriend Sharon Hatcher, 42, her daughter April Hatcher, 16, and Michael Barnett Jr., 21, at the Hatchers' mobile home in Valley City.

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Jantzen was arrested April 18 at a farm north of Valley City after a 2½-day manhunt. During the search, authorities served a warrant on a storage space Jantzen rented above Gilligan's, a bar he operated as the Paddock Lounge for several years.

Among the items confiscated: 76 guns, two crossbows, a compound bow, a sword, a hatchet and 27 boxes of ammunition.

During a contested property hearing Thursday in Barnes County District Court, Southeast Judicial District Judge John T. Paulson heard arguments on whether the property should be returned to Jantzen.

Paulson took the matter under advisement and gave lawyers for both sides a week to prepare briefs on why they should keep the property.

Huseby said the best scenario for the state would be to sell Jantzen's property and use the proceeds to cover restitution to the victims, plus administrative fees and fines.

"But whether we have a legal right to do that, I need to look into that some more," she said.

Jantzen's court-appointed attorney, Russell Myhre of Enderlin, returned a phone message from The Forum at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and left a message, but further attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

Sharon Hatcher's sister, Diane Peterson, and mother, Marilyn Andresen, told The Forum Thursday that Sharon's son wants the state to sell the guns and use the proceeds to reimburse the family for funeral expenses, the cost of plane tickets and other expenses.

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If there's any money left over, it should be given to a charity or some other good cause, they said.

"No matter what happens to those weapons, it won't bring the three of them back," Peterson said. "But if it can help someone else in the future ..."

Valley City attorney Roger Weisenburger said he's representing Jantzen in a civil dispute over whether Jantzen owes money to creditors from his days as owner of the Paddock Lounge.

Clif Wasfaret, owner of the CD Guns shop on East Main Street, said Jantzen talked to him about selling some guns and took him to his "vault" above Gilligan's a few weeks before the shooting.

Jantzen's gun collection consisted mostly of current production models, with an average value of about $350 each, or $27,000 total, said Wasfaret, editor of the Valley City Times-Record.

"He had a lot of that junk, as far as I'm concerned -- SKSs, AK-47s, that sort of thing," he said.

Jantzen sold all his collector's guns -- about 350 pieces -- to a Fargo hardware store a year before the shooting, Wasfaret said.

The 20-foot-by-20-foot vault was "absolutely full" with neatly arranged guns, a belt-buckle collection and a lot of archery equipment, among other items, Wasfaret said.

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Since the shooting, Wasfaret said he has purchased some of Jantzen's gun display racks from Lyman Hannig, who has power of attorney over Jantzen's property.

In a closed hearing Thursday, Paulson took under advisement the matter of Jantzen's indigency, or whether he's capable of paying for his state-appointed attorney.

Monday's sentencing hearing is expected to last at least four hours, with impact statements from friends and family of both the victims and Jantzen.

Peterson said the court also will play a tape of a phone call Sharon Hatcher made to police in October 2002 about Jantzen threatening her, and his drug use.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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