Jensen asks to fire veteran defense lawyer

Heather Jensen

Five days after she was formally charged in the deaths of her sons, accused Palisade mother Heather Jensen wants to fire her lawyer.

In a filing on Tuesday, Jensen, 24, signed a request asking District Judge Valerie Robison to allow the withdrawal of attorney Ed Nugent from her defense. The document signed by Jensen includes a one-sentence statement but gives no reason for the request.

Nugent, in turn, filed a motion Tuesday seeking to withdraw from the case, citing Jensen’s wishes. It’s unclear if she’s hired private counsel or will request appointment of a lawyer from the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office.

Nugent, a veteran Grand Junction defense lawyer, has represented Jensen since early December and has aggressively fought efforts to allow media cameras inside the courtroom during Jensen’s appearances. Two motions filed by the defense, including a request to seal the public court file and a bid to impose a gag order on prosecutors and police, were both denied by Robison last week.

Jensen learned on Thursday she’ll face four felonies and one misdemeanor charge, including two counts of child abuse resulting in death, two counts of criminally negligent homicide and one count of false reporting to authorities, in connection with the deaths of her sons, William, 2, and Tyler, 4.

The boys, who were buried next to their father last week after a two-month civil dispute over burial rights, died as a result of overheating in their mother’s Toyota 4Runner on the night of Nov. 27 on Grand Mesa. William died that same night while Tyler was removed from life support on Dec. 3.

An arrest warrant affidavit alleges Jensen was having sex with a man and smoking marijuana as her boys were left alone inside their mother’s vehicle.

Jensen is being held at the Mesa County Jail on $150,000 bond.

The case is scheduled for a hearing before Robison on Thursday.


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