Testimony From the Grave: Wife Fingers Husband

Even though Julie Jensen died in December 1998, a jury has heard from her at the murder trial of her husband.

Before her death, the Pleasant Prairie, Wis., resident had a chilling prophecy about her fate and penned what she thought would happen in a letter she gave to a neighbor.

"I pray I'm wrong and nothing happens, but I am suspicious of Mark's suspicious behaviors and fear for my early demise," the 40-year-old wrote.

Now after years of legal wrangling, Mark Jensen first-degree murder trial has finally begun. Mark Jensen was charged with the crime in 2002; her body was found in the home the couple shared with their two sons.

Police believe Mark Jensen poisoned his wife with ethelene glycol, which is commonly found in antifreeze.

Mark Jensen's lawyer has tried to paint a picture of an emotionally disturbed and depressed woman, who took her own life.

However, in her note, Julie Jensen said she would never commit suicide.

"I would never take my life because of my kids. They are everything to me," she wrote in her letter. "My life's greatest love, accomplishment and wish," Julie Jensen wrote.

The fight to have Julie Jensen's words admitted into the trial took five years and ended up in the Wisconsin Supreme Court because beyond-the-grave accusations have rarely been allowed, as they deny the defendant the constitutional right of confronting the accuser.

"It's extraordinarily rare in any murder case for the jury to hear the words of the victim herself," said Marquette University Law School professor Daniel David Blinka. "Her words are so critical and so contested in this case."

"Ultimately, it will be for the jury to determine whether they believe her when she said that she thought her husband was trying to kill her," Blinka said.

"If anything happens to me, he will be my first suspect. Our relationship has deteriorated to the polite, superficial," the letter said.

The murder investigation has surprised the community.

"You have the successful husband. You have the beautiful wife and these two adorable little kids. They all seem like they have this perfect life," said WISN TV reporter Colleen Henry. "And then prosecutors come out with the homicide charge and — how could this happen?"

Still, Julie Jensen's family wants to make sure her words are heard.

"We're doing what Julie requested us to do in the letter. 'If there is any question about my death, please look to Mark,'" her brother, Larry Griffin, said.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: A home damaged by a landslide Friday, April 18, 2014 in Jackson, Wyo. is shown in this aerial image provided by Tributary Environmental.
Tributary Environmental/AP Photo
null
Danny Martindale/Getty Images
PHOTO: Woman who received lab-grown vagina says she now has normal life.
Metropolitan Autonomous University and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine