Mark Jensen, the Wisconsin man charged with poisoning his wife in 1998 has been found guilty of first-degree murder. Sentencing will take place on Friday although his conviction comes with a mandatory life in prison sentence. The conviction by the jury came after members deliberated for over 30 hours.
Jensen’s wife, Julie, was founded dead in her bed in 1998. Poisoning by ethylene glycol was the cause of death. Police say she had been given multiple doses. Just 30 ml of ethylene glycol can be deadly. Evidence during the criminal also indicated that a pillow might have been used by Jensen to smother her.
Prior to her death, Julie wrote a letter placing blame on her husband in the event that anything happened to her. She gave the letter to a neighbor. She also had told her son’s teacher and police that she thought Jensen was attempting to murder her.
Jensen was charged with 1st-degree murder in 2002. According to prosecutors, he was having an affair and wanted to get rid of his wife. Jensen’s defense team said that Julie was depressed, tried to kill herself, and then blamed her husband.
Strict hearsay rules that allow defendants to confront their accusers had blocked Julie’s statements and her letter as evidence. The issue of whether or not Julie’s words could admitted as part of the case delayed Jensen’s criminal trial for several years.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling compelled the Wisconsin Supreme Court to create an exception in this case so that Julie’s statements and letters could be admitted as a dying declaration of her state of mind when she died.
A couple of inmates testified that Jensen had admitted to killing his wife. One inmate testified that Jensen had asked him to kidnap a witness who was scheduled to testify.
A 2003 Massachusetts Domestic Violence Report by Jane Doe Inc. Lists several methods used for committing domestic violence homicide:
• Stabbing deaths • Fatal firearm injuries • Strangulation • Blunt trauma to head • Smothering the victim
Husband guilty of murder in ‘letter from grave’ case, CNN.com, February 21, 2008
Jury: Man Used Antifreeze to Kill Wife, AP, February 21, 2008
2003 Massachusetts Domestic Violence Homicide Report
Related Web Resources:
Read Judy Jensen’s Letter from the Grave, CNN.com
Ethylene Glycol, University of Cambridge
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