Mom flunked 3 drug tests, records show
In alleged violations of the terms of her probation, Heather Jensen failed three court-ordered drug tests in the months before the Nov. 27 incident on Grand Mesa that led to the deaths of her young sons, according to records obtained by The Daily Sentinel.
Steps to revoke Jensen’s deferred judgment—potentially jailing her for an unknown period of time—started in December and resulted in a court filing earlier this month.
“Ms. Jensen has produced urinalysis tests which tested positive for THC on the following dates: March 21, 2012, October 8, 2012, and October 26, 2012,” reads a summons and complaint filed by Mesa County Criminal Justice Services caseworkers, signed on Dec. 31.
THC is the primary intoxicant in marijuana.
The complaint said Jensen must appear in Mesa County court today, Jan. 18, to “show cause” why her deferred judgment shouldn’t be revoked.
“She did not report to produce a (urine) sample in the month of November 2012,” a caseworker wrote in the complaint. “On December 13, Ms. Jensen produced another urinalysis which tested positive for THC.”
The complaint was filed at the Mesa County Justice Center on Jan. 3.
Aside from the drugs, the filing suggests Jensen had trouble showing up to meetings with county officials. Caseworkers wrote in the filing she missed three scheduled check-ins since March 21, 2012.
The no-show dates aren’t specified, but they constituted more alleged violations.
Jensen, 24, waived extradition during a first court appearance Thursday in Lee County, Fla. She was ordered held without bond, while the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department has said it won’t release information on the timing of Jensen’s return.
Jensen was arrested Wednesday leaving her mother’s home in North Fort Myers, Fla., on a Mesa County warrant listing two counts of criminally negligent homicide, two counts of child abuse resulting in death while acting with negligence, and one count of false reporting.
The Palisade mother was charged by District Attorney Pete Hautzinger in connection with a Nov. 27 incident on Grand Mesa that led to the deaths of sons, William, 2, and Tyler, 4. The boys died of hyperthermia, or overheating, after they were left in their mother’s running Toyota 4Runner.
Mesa County Criminal Justice Services Director Dennis Berry, who reviewed Jensen’s file, said the handling of the probation appeared consistent with most deferred-sentence clients in Mesa County.
“Generally, on the first positive (for pot), we’ll deal with it internally, but a second we won’t,” he said. “This isn’t unusual for the kind of process for folks on a deferred judgment.”
Jensen was arrested March 13, 2012, for domestic violence after her husband, Eric, told Palisade police that a fight escalated after he confronted her about hanging out with friends she received medications from. Eric Jensen told officers his wife used Vicodin and Percocet, while she’d punched him during the fight.
She pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and received an 18-month deferred judgment. The agreement with the District Attorney’s Office gave Jensen a chance to erase the conviction if she stayed out of trouble, while complying with a host of terms and conditions.
Berry said the first positive drug test in Jensen’s case March 21 reflects marijuana in her system on the day she was first evaluated by Criminal Justice Services, after her sentencing. She also tested positive for opiates, according to court records.
The positive marijuana test on Oct. 8 likely would have led to discussions with Jensen and her treatment provider, among other steps, Berry said.
“The test from Oct. 26 we considered to be residual use (leftover THC from Oct. 8 test),” he said.
The Dec. 13 test, however, was deemed to reflect “new use,” which Berry said set wheels in motion for Criminal Justice Services staff to start the process for a possible revocation of probation.
Berry said Jensen missed “check-ins” with her case manager, for the third time, on Nov. 30.
Despite passage of Amendment 64 and medical marijuana in Colorado, Criminal Justice Services clients are generally prohibited from using any drugs, including marijuana, among terms and conditions of their probation. There are rare exceptions, Berry said.
A boyfriend of Heather Jensen’s told Mesa County sheriff’s investigators that Jensen allegedly admitted using marijuana on the night of Nov. 27 on Grand Mesa, when she allegedly met a man and had sex as her children were overheating in her nearby 4Runner.
‘Move on with my life’
In a hand-written letter addressed to Mesa County Court Judge Bruce Raaum, Jensen asked permission from the judge to leave Colorado, saying she’d “changed in a very good way” after completing court- ordered domestic violence counseling. The letter was dated Dec. 11.
“I believe it would be a great opportunity for me to start my life over again in Florida, and being surrounded by all my family who loves me to help me get through the losses I’ve had in this past month,” Jensen wrote in the letter. “And I would greatly appreciate it if you will let me move on with my life in Florida.”
The terms of Jensen’s deferred judgment said she had to remain in Colorado, absent prior court approval to leave. The sentence runs through September of this year.
Jensen apparently left anyway.
“The defendant’s request (to leave state) was not referred to the District Attorney’s Office for a response,” Deputy District Attorney Danielle Lewis wrote, objecting to Jensen’s request, despite the fact Jensen had already left Colorado. “The court did not rule on the defendant’s request to leave the jurisdiction, but rather stated that it had reviewed the defendant’s documentation.”
“Defendant does not have permission to leave the state,” Raaum wrote in a hand-written ruling.
The judge signed his ruling on Jan. 7.