WI v. Mark Jensen: Antifreeze Murder Retrial

Posted at 1:52 PM, December 29, 2022 and last updated 6:32 AM, February 2, 2023

KENOSHA, Wisc. (Court TV) — Mark Jensen has once again been found guilty of the 1998 death of his wife, Julie Jensen. The jury from Jensen’s retrial convicted him of first-degree intentional homicide on Feb. 1.

During his first trial in 2008, a jury found Mark Jensen guilty of murdering Julie. Prosecutors claimed he poisoned Julie with antifreeze in 1998 so he could continue an affair with a woman he eventually married.

 

The case was built on a letter Julie wrote pointing the finger at her husband of 14 years, as well as her statements to police, a neighbor and her son’s teacher that she suspected Mark was trying to kill her.

Court TV’s Trial Archives: Wisconsin v. Mark Jensen (2008)

Jensen’s defense claimed Julie was depressed over a failing marriage and took her own life to frame her husband. Following his conviction, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In March 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld an appellate court decision to grant Jensen a new trial, stating Julie’s statements and letter cannot be used at trial. The United States Supreme Court then paved the way for a new trial by declining to hear Jensen’s case.

Jensen’s retrial began on Jan. 11 with opening statements. This time, prosecutors still contended Jensen killed his wife to continue an affair and the defense argued Julie took her own life and framed the defendant.

After six and half hours of deliberations over two days, the jury found him guilty of first-degree intentional homicide. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for April 14, 2023.

DAILY TRIAL HIGHLIGHTS

DAY 15 – 2/1/23

  • The jury deliberated for 2 hours 15 minutes on Tuesday and roughly four hours and 15 (6 hours and 30 minutes total) before reaching its verdict.
  • The courtroom was packed with media, attorneys and court staff – some of whom were present for the 2008 trial, including prosecutor Angelina Gabriele – but no one from Julie Jensen’s family or the defendant’s family.
  • Less than an hour into deliberations Wednesday, the jury requested the following:
    • Police reports – Denied because they weren’t introduced into evidence
    • Autopsy report – Granted
    • Psychotherapist Paul Defazio’s notes on Julie Jensen’s visits from 1990 to 1991 — Granted
  • READ MORE: Mark Jensen found guilty of killing his wife … again

DAY 14 – 1/31/23

  • Both sides delivered closing arguments and the judge instructed the jury on the law before the 6 men and 6 of the panel began deliberating Monday afternoon.
  • The jury deliberated for two hours and 15 minutes before going home for the day at 6 PM ET.
  • About an hour into deliberations, the jury requested a mix of exhibits and other items:
    • Flip chart, markers and tape
    • Autopsy and crime scene photos of Julie Jensen dead in her bed that was shown during medical examiner Dr. Chambliss’ testimony.
    • Handwritten notes of Jensen family physician Richard Boorman on Julie Jensen’s visits starting in September 1997 through her last visit on December 1, 1998.
    • The EMS statement of firefighter and first responder Dave Wilkinson.
  • Deputy District Attorney Carli McNeill was close to tears at various points in her 90-minute closing as she accused Mark Jensen of gaslighting his ex-wife and trying to make her look crazy in 1998 and now by blaming her for her death. McNeill argued that the defendant so “hated” his wife for cheating on him that he psychologically tortured and humiliated her for years until he found a “replacement,” then and plotted her murder instead of divorcing her.
  • McNeill tried to piece together a timeline using Mark Jensen’s emails, internet activity on the Jensen home computer and evidence from the couple’s day planners to show that Jensen was the only person who could be responsible for poison-related internet searches in Julie’s final weeks.
  • In the defense 90-minute closing, Assistant Public Defender Jeremy Perri insisted his client was innocent and urged the jury to not be swayed by emotion or distracted by evidence that Jensen viewed or collected pornography.
  • Perri pointed to testimony from state witnesses who said Julie’s injuries were inconclusive and accused them of “bending” the science to fit the cause of death that jail informant offered up in 2007. Perri said the prosecution’s case was built on a lie that Dillard created to get out of jail.
  • Perri suggested that Julie was more likely responsible than Jensen for internet searches for “botulism” and “suicide” based on other searches that were performed around the same time, challenging the state’s claim that Julie was computer illiterate and could not be responsible for the poison-related searches close to her death.
  • Special prosecutor Robert Jambois got in a few digs at defense experts in the state rebuttal argument, calling them “hired guns” who ignored circumstantial evidence of Jensen’s harassing behavior toward his wife.

DAY 13 – 1/30/23

  • The evidence is in and both sides rested Monday. The case could go to the jury as soon as Tuesday afternoon.
  • Mark Jensen spoke briefly for the first time on the record as he declined to testify.
  • Mark Jensen’s defense rested after calling its final witness, David Jensen, Mark and Julie Jensen’s oldest son, to describe the events surrounding his mother’s death.
  • David Jensen said he saw his father cry for the first time as he emerged from the bedroom after finding his mother dead.
  • Father and son exchanged subtle interactions: Mark Jensen wiped a tear while his son testified and mouthed something at his son at the end of direct. David Jensen waved at his father as he left the courtroom.
  • David Jensen said he couldn’t remember telling others in 1998 as an 8-year-old that his father didn’t want to bring his mother to the hospital or that his mother didn’t know how to use a computer, contrary to the testimony of state witnesses.
  • The state called five rebuttal witnesses — most of whom we saw in the state’s case in chief – to refute claims made by David Jensen and his aunt, Laura Koster, in the defense case.
  • A new witness in the state’s rebuttal was Jill Puler, who was married to Julie Jensen’s brother when Julie died.
  • Puler said Julie told her she intended to leave Mark after the holidays. Under defense questioning, Puler said Julie knew of her husband’s affair but said nothing about fearing he would kill her.
  • A forensic psychiatrist offered an opinion on signs that suggested Julie Jensen was at a high risk for suicide.
  • WATCH: Antifreeze Murder Retrial: Day 13

DAY 12 – 1/27/23

  • The defense called noted forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas — a veteran of Court TV trials WI v. McCandless and MN v. Chauvin — to dispute the state’s theory of Julie Jensen’s cause and manner of death.
  • Thomas said the evidence was inconclusive as to manner of death but indicated that “a lot of evidence” supported suicide.
  • Thomas also disagreed with the state that the evidence suggested homicidal suffocation. Julie might may have died from her face being suffocated by a pillow, but she didn’t have the injuries Thomas would expect to see on other parts of her body if someone had pinned her down.
  • Mark Jensen’s sister, Laura Koster, described Julie as a “great” mom – and Mark’s fathering as “fine” – who was unhappy in her marriage and showed increasing signs of mental instability.
  • Koster said Julie at one point wanted to marry her lover, Perry Tarica. Not long before her death, Julie told Koster she thought Mark wanted to kill her. Koster told Julie to leave him and offered to house Julie and her children, but Julie stayed put.
  • Three days before died, Julie was “sad” and said she was going to seek treatment for depression, and that Koster may not hear from her for a few days because of how the medication may impact her.
  • On cross, Koster denied telling police that she was worried her brother had killed her best friend. She said she didn’t think to contact police about Julie’s ominous statements because she thought it was another one of her mental health “episodes.”
  • Judge Anthony Milisauska rejected the state’s request to question Koster about the $200 she gives her brother each month as a bid to show her bias toward him.

DAY 11 – 1/26/23

  • Defense toxicologist Stacey Hail disagreed with state witnesses who said Julie Jensen’s death was a homicide. She said there’s no way to tell from ethylene glycol levels in Julie Jensen’s system if her death was a suicide, homicide or accidental, making the cause of death in her opinion “undetermined.”
  • Hail disagreed with the state’s theory that asphyxiation contributed to Julie’s death. Hail’s opinion on cause of death is that Julie died of ethylene glycol poisoning alone and that none of the scientific evidence – including Julie’s injuries – are consistent with asphyxiation.
  • Prosecutor Robert Jambois spent twice as much time attacking Hail’s findings, pressing her on why she didn’t consider evidence of Jensen’s affair, his porn obsession, or his alleged confession to informant Aaron Dillard. Hail stood her ground, accusing Jambois of asking her misleading questions and mischaracterizing her testimony.
  • After hours of questioning, Hail conceded that the evidence wasn’t consistent or inconsistent with the possibility that Jensen pushed his wife’s face into her pillow.
  • Mark Jensen’s family pastor, Marvin Oechler, testified on video that Jensen was “distraught” and “upset” over his wife’s death the day of her death. Oechler he felt that Jensen grieved “appropriately” at her visitation and funeral and said that everyone grieves differently.
  • Joan Wise —  former assistant to Jensen coworker Ed Klug, who said Jensen drunkenly complained of wanting to kill his wife – said Klug was known as “untruthful’ and an “attention-seeker.”
  • Jail informant Nathaniel Clanton testified that Jensen told him that fellow inmate David Thompson offered to make Ed Klug “disappear,” but Jensen had not decided whether to take him up on the offer.
  • Retired investigator Paul Ratzburg returned to the stand to identify a photo of the Jensen home refrigerator without any orange juice in it, the beverage jail informant Aaron Dillard said Jensen confessed to using to slip Julie antifreeze.
  • On cross, Ratzburg identified entries from Jensen and Julie’s day planners that said they hired a cleaner to clean up Julie’s vomit after Jensen’s work conference trip – the same weekend Aaron Dillard said Jensen poisoned Julie the first time.

DAY 10 – 1/25/23

  • Mark Jensen’s lawyers called two medical professionals to testify to Julie Jensen’s state of mind as part of the defense strategy to convince the jury that she took her life in December 1998 and not her husband.
  • Both witnesses testified that Julie denied being suicidal, but also acknowledged that people may struggle to admit such feelings.
  • Prosecutor Robert Jambois’ high-energy cross of the witnesses drew numerous “argumentative” objections as Jambois painted Jensen as a gaslighting narcissist who was the source of his wife’s anxiety and the person who caused her death.
  • The officer who investigated Julie’s one-time lover, Perry Tarica, in 1992 said Tarica lied to him about contacting Julie after she ended their affair and admitted he was still “madly in love” with her.
  • A Stifel Nicolaus employee who attended the afterparty where Jensen coworker Ed Klug said Jensen spoke of wanting to kill Julie denied the conversation happened.
  • Psychotherapist Paul Defazio saw Julie from 1990 to 1991 for a referral of possible postpartum depression after the birth of her first son, David.
  • Defazio concluded that Julie suffered from “adult situational reaction with mixed features” and referred her for a Prozac prescription based on self-reports of depression and anxiety.
  • On cross, while resisting the characterization of Jensen as a “jerk,” Defazio agreed that being married to a “self-absorbed guy” who complained about Julie being “too involved” with her child could have contributed to her condition.
  • Dr. Richard Boorman saw Julie Jensen two days before she died. She was “miserable” and “distraught” in a way he’d never seen her before over “marital problems,” he said.
  • Boorman gave her samples of Paxil and offered to set up a counseling appointment for her, but she declined his staff’s assistance.
  • The next day, when Jensen appeared at the office saying Julie was having trouble sleeping, Boorman gave him a prescription for Ambien and told him to taper off Julie’s Paxil dosage.
  • On cross, Boorman said he would have recommended Julie go to the hospital if he knew the true nature of her symptoms. And he said he never would have prescribed Julie Ambien if he knew Jensen allegedly wanted to use to it to make his wife sleep through the symptons of being poisoned.

 

DAY 9 – 1/24/23

  • The state rested its case in chief Tuesday afternoon after calling 38 witnesses over nine days.
  • The defense case started Tuesday afternoon with four witnesses whose testimony was clearly intended to undermine the credibility of jail informants who testified against Mark Jensen.
  • Two women who crossed paths with informant Aaron Dillard accused him of taking their money under different sets of false pretenses.
  • A former Kenosha County jail inmate said the other informant, David Thompson, bullied Jensen for canteen money and phone calls.
  • Judge Anthony Milisauskas denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the charge of intentional homicide against Jensen based on a lack insufficient, credible evidence.
  • Milisauskas spent 30 minutes summarizing the testimony of each state witness with occasional snarky asides before wryly concluding that he’d heard from “two experts who say homicide” and “a whole lot of witnesses who put Jensen in a not-good position.”
  • The state’s last witness was Dr. Mary Mainland, the Kenosha County Medical Examiner who reviewed Julie Jensen’s records upon taking office in 2005 and was asked to render an opinion as to cause and manner of death.
  • Mainland said her opinion on cause of death changed from ethylene glycol poisoning alone to ethylene glycol poisoning and asphyxiation after taking into account informant Aaron Dillard’s statement concerning Mark Jensen’s alleged confession in August 2007.
  • Mainland said Dillard’s account was consistent with Julie’s injuries, especially the part about Mark Jensen allegedly sitting on his wife’s body until she suffocated. On cross, Mainland said there were other possible explanations for Julie’s injuries that did not implicate her husband, such as post-mortem lividity or first responders rolling her over.
  • Mainland opined that the circumstances of Julie’s and death did not “fit the pattern of suicide,” including the low levels of ethylene glycol found in her body.
  • Mainland conceded on cross that depression and suicide can lurk beneath the surface and a person may not manifest obvious signs of either condition.
  • Jensen’s defense drew attention to the fact that different labs generated different results for the presence of ethylene glycol in different parts of Julie’s body, with some readings showing nothing at all.

DAY 8 – 1/23/23

  • The jury heard potentially damning allegations of attempted witness tampering against Mark Jensen from another person who crossed paths with him in the Kenosha County Jail in 2007.
  • David Thompson testified that Mark Jensen eagerly took up his offer to plot the kidnapping of former coworker Ed Klug, who Jensen wanted to “disappear” so he would be unable to testify against him.
  • Thompson said he never intended to carry out the plot and was only trying to extract a $1,000 payout from Jensen.
  • Prosecutors played a series of jail phone calls allegedly connected to the plot, including calls between Thompson and his girlfriend about the ruse and Jensen’s poorly coded conversations with his parents and his second wife, Kelly.
  • Thompson’s account may have lent credence to inmate Aaron Dillard’s testimony that Jensen regretted drunkenly ranting to Klug about wanting to poison his wife.
  • Jensen’s defense focused on both men’s prior and pending convictions to suggest each had good reason to try to curry favor with the state by getting incriminating information on Jensen.
  • While reading aloud the letter he wrote to a federal judge for Thompson, prosecutor Robert Jambois mentioned the “successful investigation and prosecution” for murder against Jensen.
  • To address the potential harm, the judge struck the line from the record and made Jambois read the letter the letter to the jury without the offending line.
  • The jury heard emotional and testimony from Julie Jensen’s brother, Paul Griffin, who shared fond memories of their childhood a. He also recounted his suspicions that his sister’s husband was to blame for her death, leading him to record conversations with Jensen about Julie’s last days.
  • A private investigator who the Jensens consulted at the recommendation of police said he suspected Jensen was responsible for the pornographic images and prank calls, but Julie was unwilling to entertain the possibility.
  • WATCH: Antifreeze Murder Retrial: Fellow Inmate Continues Testimony

DAY 7 – 1/20/23

  • Jailhouse informant Aaron Dillard testified Mark Jensen confessed to him that he had spiked his wife’s orange juice with antifreeze but when the poison wasn’t working fast enough, he pushed her face into the pillow and sat on her back until she passed.
  • Dillard said Jensen told him that he had attempted to poison his wife on a previous occasion while he was on his trip with Ed Klug. He was glad she hadn’t died because he had ‘run his mouth off’ to Klug.
  • A juror revealed that his sister dated Dillard two years ago–he went by a different name then. The juror admitted he did not care for him based on his sister’s dating experience– but agreed to judge his testimony impartially and remains on the jury.
  • Perry Tarica revealed he and Julie Jensen spent a romantic weekend together while Mark was away. He denied sending Julie pornographic pictures and making hang up calls.
  • A neighbor revealed that days after Julie Jensen’s funeral, she noticed that on the next trash pickup, there were bags on the curb filled with her clothes, shoes, and handbags.
  • A forensic computer examiner said he analyzed Jensen’s computer and found numerous files containing pornographic images, including pictures of penises categorized by size and ‘favorites.’
  • WATCH: Stacey Baur Testifies Jensen Wanted His Wife Dead

DAY 6 – 1/19/23

  • Judge Anthony Milisauskas called it a day Thursday around 4:20pCT/5:20pET during a break in digital forensic examiner Jason Ruff’s direct testimony. Milisauskas told the lawyers it’s “hard” to look at screens all day, referring to the prosecution’s frequent use of the evidence monitor. Milisauskas told the jury he wanted to end early because he doesn’t like driving in the dark in the rain.
  • The jury heard from just two witnesses Thursday and spent most of the day with their eyes glued to the evidence monitor as prosecutors introduced dozens of pages of transcripts, excerpts of Julie’s harassment log and day planner, and records of internet activity from the Jensen home computer.
  • The computer evidence showed deleted browser history from the last two days of Julie Jensen’s life that included searches for “ethylene glycol poisoning” and “antifreeze poisoning.” The question for the jury is who was responsible for them, Julie or Mark Jensen?
  • The search history timeline tracked with topics Jensen and his mistress Kelly Brooks discussed in emails in September and October 1998. The activity took a suspicious turn in mid-October with searches for “drugs,” “poisoning” and the anarchist’s cookbook. The first instance of “ethylene glycol” appears in a web page that was reached through a search for “toxicology” in November 1998.
  • While crossing of retired Det. Paul Ratzburg, the lead case investigator, Jensen’s defense focused on overlooked leads, evidence he failed to collect or submit for testing, his yearslong delay in interviewing key witnesses, and details that suggested Julie Jensen was more computer literate than she claimed to be and that she knew mistress Kelly LaBonte’s name.

DAY 5 – 1/18/23

  • Kelly Brooks, the defendant’s former mistress and ex-wife, finished her testimony.
  • On cross, Brooks agreed that Jensen never pressured her to leave her husband and she was the one who instigated conversations about divorcing their spouses.
  • The jury heard about the manuscript Jensen produced in jail with the intent of selling – a new piece of evidence to emerge since Jensen’s 2008 trial.
  • The manuscript first came up during Brooks’ testimony, when prosecutors played a jail call between her and Jensen. Jensen discussed selling the book so they could move somewhere and start a new life together.
  • The second mention of the manuscript came at the end of Det. Paul Ratzburg’s direct examination. Prosecutor Robert Jambois read aloud a passage about Jensen’s unscheduled visit to Julie Jensen’s doctor to ask for Ambien for Julie. Jensen wrote that “wearing an expensive suit and Rolex” likely contributed to the success of his request.
  • The jury heard Ratzburg’s April 1999 interview with Jensen in which Jensen denied having an affair with Brooks and denied he was responsible for the penis-focused photos found around his home and office
  • Ratzburg walked the jury through Julie Jensen’s harassment log, which detailed  instances of the discovery of photos, phone calls, and actions she and police took to find a suspect.
  • Ratzburg introduced Julie Jensen’s day planner, which was full of entries related to her kids, dates with friends and other couples, and plans for December 1998, including her husband’s office Christmas party.
  • Jurors in Jensen’s 2008 trial told the media Julie Jensen’s records weighed heavily in their guilty verdict.
  • During the testimony of a first responder, prosecutor Jambois drew attention to the position of Julie Jensen’s body bed. She was lying on her left side with left arm under her body and the left side of her face pressed into the pillow, making her nose crooked. On cross, David Wilkinson said the photos were taken after he left the scene but appeared to show her body as he found it.

DAY 4 – 1/17/23

  • Prosecutors continued building a circumstantial case based on the defendant’s incriminating words and behavior while Jensen’s defense tried to cast his conduct in a less nefarious light.
  • Judge Anthony Milisauskas again ripped into the defense – this time, for objecting to evidence of Jensen’s alleged preoccupation with penises as irrelevant. Milisauskas cited a court of appeals ruling that deemed the evidence admissible because it supported the state’s theory that Jensen used penis-focused pornography to torture his wife into madness as part of his plot to kill her.
  • Mark Jensen’s former mistress, the woman who prosecutors say he killed his ex-wife to be with, took the stand for the start of her testimony.
  • Kelly Brooks described how their work relationship rapidly intensified into an exchange of flirtatious emails and covert meetups that – according to other witnesses — became the subject of office gossip and Julie Jensen’s suspicions.
  • Brooks read aloud sanitized highlights from dozens of pages of emails between her and Jensen in September and October 1998 that tracked the evolution of their relationship. The emails included Jensen’s code name for his penis – “boy scout” – and acronyms for “I love you” and “I want you.”
  • After Brooks and Jensen married, Jensen asked prying questions about Brooks’ past lovers and their penises and kept notes — with drawings — based on her accounts.
  • Jurors were spared the explicit descriptions of sexual acts that prosecutors in Jensen’s 2008 trial made Brooks read.
  • The jury also heard from two more Jensen coworkers, Dave Nehring and Rosemary MacInness.
  • Nehring said he found a notebook in Jensen’s office that was full of drawings of penises. On cross, he admitted he did not mention the notebook in the 2008 trial.
  • MacInness said she overheard Nehring tell others in the office about the notebook. She also said Jensen appeared to be in good spirits at the office Christmas party the week after his wife’s death, chatting with a woman who was flirting with him.

DAY 3 – 1/13/23

  • Mark Jensen’s former coworker, Ed Klug, testified that Jensen said he wanted to kill his wife and described ways in which he could poison her with Benadryl or other substances that would crystallize inside a body and go undetected.
  • On cross, Ed Klug testified that he didn’t recall Jensen using the words “antifreeze” or “ethylene glycol,” but he later learned them out after doing research online.
  • Ed Klug’s ex-wife, JoAnne Klug, backed up her husband’s account that he called her to relay Jensen’s comments the night of the alleged conversation, which Klug said occurred at a hotel bar during a November 1998 work trip.
  • Judge Milisauskas berates Jensen’s defense for trying to bring in evidence of Ed Klug’s character even though the parties litigated the matter in pretrial motions and the judge would not let it in.
  • The jury heard about Officer Ron Kosman’s efforts from 1994 to 1998 to determine the source of pornographic images left in and around the Jensen home and Mark’s office – along with hang-up calls to the house – and how he came to suspect Mark Jensen.
  • The jury saw photographs of Mark Jensen’s day planner and notes from his desk, including a grocery-style list that included “syringe.” Julie Jensen told others that the syringe made her suspect he was planning to poison her. Julie took the photos and gave them to police to develop sometime during the week she died. Kosman said none of them stood out to him at the time.
  • WATCH: Antifreeze Murder Retrial: Day 3

DAY 2 – 1/12/23

  • The jury watched nearly three hours of video of the 2008 trial testimony of Tadeusz “Ted” Wojt (Voight), the neighbor to whom Julie Jensen confided her alleged suspicions of her husband and gave a letter preemptively accusing MJ of any harm that came her way. The letter has been excluded from this trial and Wojt’s testimony about it was excised from the recording.

    In this image from video, Jensen family neighbor Ted Wojt testifies in Mark Jensen’s 2008 trial. (Court TV)

    • WATCH: Ted Wojt testimony from Mark Jensen’s 2008 trial
    • Even without the letter, Wojt shared a troubling picture of the last weeks of JJ’s life, one that captured her alleged descent into fear and paranoia as she accused her husband of dropping signs that he intended to poison her. JJ said she didn’t know if MJ was trying to kill her or drive her crazy so that she would lose custody of her children. JJ declined Wojt’s offer of money and a place to stay in the Wojt family’s lake house.
  • On cross, Wojt said he never thought MJ would kill JJ and hoped that things would blow over just as JJ did – or that police would intervene. Wojt said he was friendly with MJ and never knew him to be violent or angry in the 6-7 years he lived next door to the Jensens.
    • WATCH: Ted Wojt cross-examination from Mark Jensen’s 2008 trial
    • Wojt’s account was the latest the jury heard of Julie Jensen raising red flags about her husband to friends and neighbors. The defense is trying to cast doubt on the accounts as the words of an unreliable narrator and superficial in their knowledge of the Jensen’s relationship.
  • Eric Schoor, childhood friend of the Jensen’s oldest son, David, testified that 8-year-old David told him JJ was sick and MJ wouldn’t take her to the hospital. Schoor mimicked David’s demonstration of mother’s labored breathing. Schoor’s mother, Laura Schoor, backed up her son’s account and put a precise date on the boys’ conversation: 12/3/98, the day JJ died.
  • On cross, the defense caught a discrepancy in Schoor’s testimony: In 2008, Schoor testified that he saw MJ and mistress Kelly Labonte standing in MJ’s bedroom. Today, Schoor testified that Labonte was lying on the bed and MJ had his shirt off as he stood over her.
  • Joseph Mangi, the principal who called the Jensen home to offer JJ a secretary job the week she died, said MJ picked up the phone and chuckled that JJ would be “sleeping for a long time.”
  • The forensic psychologist who was unable to reach a conclusion on case or manner of death in 1998 offered a revised opinion based partly on a jailhouse snitch’s claim that MJ confessed to poisoning JJ then suffocating her.

DAY 1 – 1/11/23

  • Prosecutor Carli McNeill said the evidence would show Mark Jensen engaged in a years-long campaign of harassment to degrade his wife for cheating on him before poisoning and suffocating her to death so he could be with his mistress.
  • Public defender Mackenzie Renner said the evidence would show Julie Jensen killed herself after years of declining mental health and that Mark Jensen may be a jerk and a bad husband but he’s not a murderer. Renner called Julie Jensen an “unreliable narrator” who told conflicting stories to different people about her husband and their relationship.

    Ruth Vorwald gets emotional as she describes the scene where the late Julie Jensen was found dead while testifying in Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Kenosha, Wis. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that Jensen deserved a new trial in the 1998 death of his wife Julie Jensen, who was poisoned with antifreeze. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

  • Ruth Vorwald teared up while recalling the moment she learned her friend and neighbor had died.
  • Vorwald and neighbor Carrie Ashley said Mark Jensen was “laughing and carrying” on as if he were at a “cocktail party” at Julie’s visitation. Both acknowledged on cross they didn’t know who he was talking to or what they were talking about.
  • Carrie Ashley and neighbor Margaret Wojt saw garbage bags of Julie Jensen’s belongings outside the Jensen home the day after she died. Wojt said she first saw Jensen’s mistress – who later became his wife – at the Jensen home two weeks after Julie’s death.
  • Therese DeFazio, David Jensen’s third-grade teacher, said Julie Jensen told her the week before she died that she thought her husband was going to kill her by poisoning her and making it appear that she killed herself. Julie Jensen said her fear was based on a grocery list she found on her husband’s desk that included needles and syringes. Julie also thought it was suspicious that her husband kept trying to force her to drink alcohol when she didn’t drink and that he always turned off his computer when came into the room.
  • On cross, Jensen’s lawyer goes through all the things Julie Jensen didn’t tell DeFazio, including that Julie also used the computer at home and she turned down a friend’s offer of money and a place to stay.
  • Margaret Wojt said that the day before Julie Jensen died, she told her she was sick but not to worry because Mark was taking care of her. The week before, Julie said she feared Mark was going to do something to her. On cross, Wojt said Julie didn’t say anything about Mark poisoning her and that she didn’t ask for help.
  • READ: Wisconsin man’s retrial begins in wife’s antifreeze death
  • WATCH: Mark Jensen Tells His Side of the Story in Prison Manuscript

Court TV field producer Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.

MORE NEWS