Jensen sentenced to 10 years prison

Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison today sentenced Heather Jensen to 10 years in prison, saying she didn’t find appropriate the maximum possible prison term in the deaths of Jensen’s sons, William and Tyler.

“One of the things we as parents are required to do is to put our children before ourselves, and if we don’t, bad things can happen,” Robison said moments before passing sentence. “It’s up to us as parents and community members to protect them. They deserve it. They require it.”

Robert Mathena, grandfather of William and Tyler who waged a bitter civil lawsuit for burial rights of the boys, emerged from the courtroom unhappy.

“It’s f———up,” he said.

Robison could have sentenced Jensen anywhere from 4 to 16 years in prison for each of two counts of child abuse resulting in death with negligence. She also could have imposed probation. Jensen, originally arrested in January 2013, was credited by the judge with 14 months of pre-sentence confinement. Jensen must also serve five years of mandatory parole upon her release from prison.

The sentence followed an emotion-packed hearing that saw a series of explosive claims by families on both sides.

Jensen, 25, was convicted Jan. 31 by Mesa County jury on two counts of child abuse resulting in death, with negligence, but acquitted on two lesser charges, Class-5 felony criminally negligent homicide. She was also found guilty of misdemeanor false reporting.

Prosecutors argued Jensen should have known her boys could die by leaving them unattended in her 4Runner with the heat running on Nov. 27, 2012, while she had sex with a man. William died at the scene, while Tyler was removed from life support days later at Children’s Hospital in Aurora. Jensen’s defense argued the deaths were an accident, but not criminal, and accused prosecutors of a sideshow focused on sex, lying and infidelity.

Jensen’s defense has said they will appeal the convictions.

Read the full story in Saturday’s Daily Sentinel.


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