GETTING AWAY WITH IT? THIS IS A TYPICAL, NORMAL CASE OF WHICH THERE ARE
NUMEROUS. RARELY DO YOU SEE WOMEN COMMITTING THESE CRIMES AGAINST MEN, MEN
AGAINST WOMEN, ALL THE TIME.
MILWAUKEE (AP) - About two weeks before her death, Julie C. Jensen went to a
neighbor, shaking and crying, and handed over a sealed envelope. If anything
happened to her, she said, he should give it to police. She wrote that she
felt her husband never forgave her for a brief affair she had seven years
earlier, and that she had seen him visit Internet sites about poisoning.
``I pray I'm wrong + nothing happens ... but I am suspicious of Mark's
suspicious behaviors + fear for my demise,'' the 40-year-old woman allegedly
wrote in the letter dated Nov. 21, 1998.
More than seven years after the southern Wisconsin woman died from
poisoning, the state Supreme Court is considering whether to allow her
statements as evidence in her husband's murder trial.
Jensen was found dead Dec. 3, 1998, in her bed in her Pleasant Prairie home
about 40 miles south of Milwaukee. An autopsy revealed she died from at
least two doses of ethylene glycol, commonly used as antifreeze.
Toxicology tests led to a first-degree intentional homicide charge against
her 46-year-old husband, Mark, in 2002. His defense lawyer has claimed she
In addition to the letter she gave to the neighbor, Julie Jensen allegedly
told her son's teacher that she had found a suspicious list of drugs and
syringes her husband wanted to buy and feared her husband planned to poison
She told the teacher she thought ``he might try to kill her with a drug
overdose and make it look like a suicide,'' a criminal complaint said. She
also left voice mails for police and told them in person of the lists, and
warned them if she died, her husband was responsible, court records said.
After her death, the neighbor gave the envelope to police. Julie Jensen had
included photographs of some of the suspicious lists and wrote she would
never take her own life because of her love for her children.
A forensic toxicologist found no trace of ethylene glycol in the house, the
complaint said. She would have been too weak to hide the chemical after
drinking the last dose, it said.
The day before the death, the defendant went to an Internet site that, among
other things, describes the stages and effects of antifreeze poisoning, the
Mark Jensen was later ordered to stand trial.
But in March 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a 1980 case that laid
out complex rules for when statements can be used without the opportunity
for cross-examination. The court said the case complicated a fairly
straightforward part of the Constitution, which guarantees a criminal
defendant the right to confront his accusers.
The trial judge then ruled that the letter and voice mails were
inadmissible, but the testimony of the neighbor and teacher could be
Both sides appealed and the attorney general asked the state Supreme Court
to hear the case.
The victim's brother, Paul Griffin, said the letter given to the neighbor is
a critical part of the case. ``I can't understand laws that would be written
to not allow something like that to be admitted as evidence,'' he said in a
recent phone interview.
Mark Jensen's attorney Craig Albee wouldn't comment: ``Because it's a
pending case, I don't have much to say about it.'' A phone number listed for
Mark Jensen, who is free after posting bond and has remarried, was
disconnected last week. Albee said Jensen wasn't giving interviews.
Special prosecutor Robert Jambois also wouldn't comment on the case, which
relies heavily on Julie Jensen's words.
The state Supreme Court could decide by June if any of the statements can be
included in the trial, which has been postponed because of the appeals.
It is a delay that has increasingly frustrated Julie Jensen's family. ``It's
past the point of being ridiculous,'' said Paul Griffin. ``It's just hard to
believe it's taken so long.''
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