Jensen lawyers will appeal conviction in sons’ deaths
Issues will be raised with court after March 21 sentencing
The Colorado Public Defender’s office in Grand Junction says Heather Jensen will pursue an appeal of her conviction Friday.
Steve Colvin, who runs the local public defender office, said issues to be raised to the Colorado Court of Appeals will be decided by lawyers from the appellate division of the public defender system, in consultation with Jensen and her trial lawyers, after she’s sentenced March 21 by District Judge Valerie Robison.
“Right now, there’s no way to know which issues are being pursued,” Colvin said.
Jensen, 25, was convicted on two counts of class 3 felony child abuse resulting in death, with negligence, in connection with the deaths of sons William, 2, and Tyler, 4, who died as a result of overheating in their mother’s Toyota 4Runner on Nov. 27, 2012.
The jury, eight women and four men, returned not guilty verdicts on two counts of criminally negligent homicide. She was also convicted of misdemeanor false reporting.
Prosecutors and public defenders clashed on several points during and before Jensen’s trial.
Over objections from public defenders Thea Reiff and Elsa Archambault, Robison reversed herself during the trial and allowed testimony from Jensen’s boyfriend, Pete Stein-Gillette, concerning infidelity. Stein-Gillette testified he and Jensen were involved in an intimate relationship more than a month before the October 2012 death of Jensen’s husband, Eric, in a car accident in Garfield County.
Robison had previously ruled such testimony off-limits because of potential prejudicial impact.
Also hotly contested before trial, Jensen’s defense fought unsuccessfully for jurors to hear testimony from Mesa County forensic pathologist Dr. Robert Kurtzman. Kurtzman ruled the boys’ manner of death to be accidental, not homicide.
The judge ruled Kurtzman’s conclusions on manner of death could cause confusion.