A Failure of Justice

How does a “Cat Motel” thrust a gal into a Dateline-style tale of murder? This is a question I ask myself often these days after I found myself being targeted by a woman indicted as an accessory to murder after the fact. More importantly, how does such an indicted person continue to be out on bail eight years after the crime was committed and six years after the body was discovered?

In May of 2018 I needed a temporary place to stay. A friend of mine suggested a motel in Ventura County which would allow my two rescue cats. The motel environment was the “Bates Motel” meets a Fellini film.

At the “Cat Motel” in Ventura County. 

The older male owner had a ritual of lying down in the parking lot wearing only Speedos. His sister/co-owner liked to yell at guests and employees over a megaphone. There also was an older heavyset blonde woman who was always attached at the hip to the female owner.

Drama was almost a daily occurrence at this place, with police and ambulances often appearing at all hours. I had the room next to the female owner; her door was often open and the heavyset blonde was her constant visitor.

The eccentric female owner of the motel liked to chat with me. The heavyset blonde woman would walk by me and scowl. I did not know who that woman was, but she seemed to be in control of the owner and all that went on at the motel. On Nov. 9, 2018, I discovered my nemesis’ name and a story that sent chills through my spine.

The Malibu fire was just one of many in California in November of 2018. There were both planned and unplanned power outages in many impacted areas. On Nov. 9, 2018, Malibu was burning. The same day, unrelated, the electricity at the motel went out due to a small fire on a pole on the back road.

The owner’s brother was working the front desk when I inquired about the power outage. He informed me of the flash fire on the street behind us and that Edison shut down the electric. The prognosis for restoration of power was a couple of hours.

Time passed and it was beginning to get dark. Two hours had long expired.

Mary Francesca Hannan in the doorway.

I woke up from a nap (not much else to do with no Internet, etc.) and asked the owner if he had an update. There was none. Hours later there still was no electricity. I went outside again and here began the saga of the mysterious heavyset blonde woman.

Outside, in their usual spot, hip-to-hip, were the female motel owner and the blonde woman. I walked up to them and spoke only to the owner.

“Perhaps the breakers need to be switched on?” The voice that answered was not the owner’s but the woman at her side. Loudly and sarcastically, I was told to shut up and as I walked away the blonde woman continued to yell at me. I told her to “get a life” and the next thing you know she is in my face. A “bit” of an overreaction. Then inches from my face, “You will pay for this!”

I walked upstairs to my room. Moments later the female motel owner came up as well. “You cannot get mad at Mary. May I tell her you are sorry?”

I did not care about Mary. I told the owner she was welcome to apologize for me. I did not anticipate ever again needing to speak to Mary.

Later, I asked an employee at the motel Mary’s last name. What I would soon learn about Mary was quite unexpected and truly horrific.

Who is Mary Francesca Hannan?
Attempts to obtain Hannan’s booking photo, Marta Bugarin for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department responded: “Unfortunately I am not able to release Mary Hannan’s booking photo.  Ms. Hannan has been out of our custody for over three years and her booking photo is no longer public information.”
Attempts to obtain any images regarding this case from the Ventura Police, Karen Moore, records manager responded:  “The police records requested are exempt from disclosure pursuant to Government Code §6254(f) and Government Code §6255(a). This matter is subject to ongoing prosecution and the interest served by not disclosing these records clearly outweighs the public interest served in disclosing them.”

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

My search into who is Mary Francesca Hannan began. I learned that Hannan is a disbarred attorney who, after some time under suspension, was formally disbarred in September of 2018. Multiple charges were referenced in her disbarment. But this did not prepare me for the story I would soon discover!

The Ventura Freezer Murder!

Michael Bresnak, convicted of murdering his mother’s boyfriend, Jeffrey Korber; his mother is Mary Francesca Hannan.

The first thought I had was horror. The second was that this reads like an episode of Dateline. Michael Bresnak was found guilty in 2018 of killing his mother’s boyfriend, Jeffrey Korber, and storing his body in a freezer at a Ventura storage unit. Hannan turns out to be the mother of Michael Bresnak, who is now serving 18 years to life in prison for the murder of attorney Jeffrey Korber in 2011. Hannan pleaded not guilty in 2018 to the following charges: Conspiracy to commit a crime, accessory to a crime after the fact, and conspiracy to commit a crime injurious to the public.

Well, this was a lot more than I ever expected to find on the Iinternet that day. I never read about this story in 2011 when Korber “disappeared.”

Two years went by while his family, to no avail, searched for him. Korber’s ex-wife, children, brothers — all impacted by their loss and unable to discover the whereabouts of their “mild-mannered” brother.

Who would ever suspect Korber’s body was wrapped in duct tape, stuffed in a garbage bag and residing in a freezer? A freezer in the storage unit rented by Hannan. Then on June 2013 the police received an anonymous tip, which led them to the storage unit and the resting place of Korber.

Jeffrey Korber murdered in 2011 by Michael Bresnak.

Isn’t it ironic

Hannan’s indictment and the murder of her boyfriend, Korber, at the hands of her son, Michael Bresnak, was all over the Internet and the news. She had become a well-known person. I knew nothing of her except for the documents I read, such as her disbarment and indictments. The VC Star is one of many outlets that carried the gruesome story.

Meanwhile, Hannan kept harassing me. One day she overheard me talking with an acquaintance at the motel about the articles I had discovered. A few days later the owner of the motel served me with a legal document on behalf of “Mary Francesca Hannan.” I was being sued for ruining Hannan’s reputation. Actually, I thought she did a pretty good job of doing that on her own! In the legal document, Hannan declares of herself, “I am well respected in both my professional and personal life.” Am I the only one who sees the irony here?

The original charges against Hannan were decided by a grand jury on Feb. 8, 2016. Somehow she has been able to drag her trial out for over three years. Hannan is scheduled for trial again after postponing her trial date of May 10, 2019. On that day she was busy involving herself in an unemployment case that had nothing to do with her. I was a witness. The female owner of the “cat motel” lost her case. Judgment was in favor of the former employee. The judge wrote a very harsh judgment against Hannan and the motel owner she represented.

Hannan’s trial date is now scheduled for Monday morning, 9:30 a.m., Aug. 12, at the Ventura County courthouse at 800 S. Victoria Ave. The DA’s office earlier this week confirmed the trial date. I plan to be in the courtroom and follow the case closely because Hannan needs to be brought to justice. Korber’s family deserves closure. The failure of the court system to try this woman in a timely fashion is hard to understand or accept.

Michael Bresnak sits in a prison cell found guilty of murdering his mother’s boyfriend while his mother, Hannan, remains free on $20,000 bail enjoying her life many years after the murder. We may never know the full story of why Korber was murdered, but it is time for a jury to finally decide the fate of Mary Francesca Hannan.