Plea offer made in Jensen case

24-year-old Heather Lynn Jensen comes into judge Robson’s courtroom in the Mesa County Justice Center Thursday morning.

A plea offer has been made in the case of a Palisade mother accused of causing her young sons’ deaths by overheating last winter.

Thea Reiff, a public defender representing Heather Jensen, said the District Attorney’s Office formally extended an agreement her client is considering, but didn’t mention details Wednesday during what was scheduled to be a preliminary hearing before District Judge Valerie Robison. Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle later declined comment on the offer.

Jensen — whose 25th birthday last week was spent in custody at the Mesa County Jail — waived her right to go forward with Wednesday’s preliminary hearing.

The plea deal, should Jensen accept it, could be revealed during arraignment on May 30.

Jensen was arrested January and is charged with a pair of Class 3 felonies,  child abuse resulting in death, two counts of Class 5 felony 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 died as a result of overheating in their mother’s Toyota 4Runner on the night of Nov. 27, 2012, on Grand Mesa. William died that 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 Toyota 4Runner.

Robert and Diane Mathena, the grandparents of William and Tyler, said they hadn’t been consulted about the proposed deal and didn’t know its terms.

“Anything that gives her something like three or four years of probation, and that’s it, is not acceptable,” Robert Mathena said after Wednesday’s hearing. “I’d like to see her do some serious time.”

Read the full story in Thursday’s Daily Sentinel.


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