by Gracee Arthur

Early this morning [Monday, Aug. 12, 2019], after three cups of black coffee, I headed to the Ventura County Courthouse to observe the latest appearance of Mary Francesca Hannan, Room 14. I was joined at the court house by a former employee of the “Cat Motel” and the editor of the VCR.

The room was filled with people awaiting trial dates, extensions, etc., and attorneys for defendants and the prosecution. The judge was serious and brief in his statements. Hannan arrived with her friend, the female hotel owner, and then was later joined by her attorney.  

Hannan apparently had read the piece published last Thursday in this publication regarding the “freezer murder.” She was unhappy and expressed this to her attorney. She was carrying on outside the courtroom about what she could do to me for writing the story. 

The courtroom was packed but the judge moved efficiently and it did not take long for Hannan’s name to be called. The entire process took just a few minutes. Hannan has been getting extensions on her trial date for years. This time the judge very simply told Hannan that she could not have any more extensions. Then “your trial is scheduled for September 11th in this court”. 

As it turns out, two women attending the hearing because they knew Hannan viewed the entire conversation between Hannan and her attorney out in the hallway. When I was introduced to them, they shared their story with me.

Hannan, shocked by the judge’s order, was standing in the hallway when I came out. She cannot blame anyone but herself for her situation. 

I look forward to covering the trial in September.