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Mark Jensen re-trial: More testimony continued on day two

Mark Jensen is a Pleasant Prairie man who had a murder conviction against him vacated
Mark Jensen
Posted at 8:06 AM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 18:48:56-05

KENOSHA, Wis. — Mark Jensen, a Pleasant Prairie man who had a murder conviction against him vacated, returned to court Thursday for day two of his re-trial.

Prosecutors and attorneys for Jensen, who is accused of killing his wife, Julie Jensen, with antifreeze in 1998, delivered opening statements Wednesday in his retrial, nearly two years after a judge vacated his previous conviction.

Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Carli McNeill told the jury during her opening statements that prosecutors would present evidence “that the defendant murdered his wife with ethylene glycol, that this was not Julie Jensen ingesting that substance to commit suicide."

Testimony on Thursday began with Eric Schoor, the best friend of Jensen's son, David Jensen.

Schoor said David told him that his mother, Julie Jensen, was very sick and his father wouldn't take her to the hospital.

Schoor demonstrated the heavy breathing David did when explaining his mother's health.

In further testimony, Schoor said he saw Jensen with another woman at the Jensen's home, not long after Julie's death.

Special prosecutor Robert Jambois asked Schoor if he ever saw Jensen with that woman in the bedroom. Schoor said he had.

Jensen's defense attorney Bridget Krause challenged Schoor's recollection.

"Mr. Schoor in 2008, you were asked what were they doing. Your response was, that they were standing there."

The state called several more witnesses before playing 2008 testimony from Ted Wojt who was unable to appear in court Thursday. He was a friend and neighbor of Julie who talked to her daily.

"I remember one of the conversations was that Mark was going to like different poisoning sites," Wojt said.

Wojt said two weeks before Julie died, she was scared Mark would put something in her wine.

"She said he was chasing her with a glass of wine and asked her to drink it," Wojt recalled.

The state's last witness was Dr. Michael Chambliss, the pathologist who performed Julie's autopsy.

The state will begin Friday by calling more witnesses to the stand.

Case background:

Mark Jensen, 63, was convicted in 2008 of killing his wife, Julie Jensen, at their home in the Kenosha County village of Pleasant Prairie and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

But a Kenosha County judge vacated his conviction in April 2021 after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Jensen deserved a new trial. The court found that a letter his wife wrote incriminating him in the event something should happen to her could not be used by the prosecution.

Prosecutors allege that he began poisoning his wife with antifreeze in December 1998, drugged her with sleeping medication, and later suffocated her to death over a three-day period.

Jensen has maintained his innocence, with his attorneys arguing that Julie Jensen was depressed and killed herself after framing her husband.

Criminal Defense Attorney Patrick Cafferty closely followed the case. He explains that under the U.S. Constitution, a defendant has the right to question an accuser, which is impossible if the accuser is testifying with a letter and essentially "from the grave."

Still, even without the letter, Cafferty believes the defense has a tough road ahead considering the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.

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