Opening arguments were heard today by the jury in day 3 of Mark Jensen’s retrial. Jensen is accused of the poisoning death of his wife, Julie Jensen.
Kenosha County’s Deputy District Attorney, Carli McNeill gave the opening statement for the prosecution. She told the jury that the evidence would show that Jensen had been planning to kill his wife because of an affair she had. She also said he had began an affair and the new woman was his motive.
Defense attorney Mackenzie Renner told the jury the evidence would show the Mark and Julie Jensen had problems, just like any other married couple, but that Julie was depressed and suicidal and took her own life.
The court heard from five women, one of which testified “from the grave.”
A neighbor who lived behind the Jensens, Ruth Vorwald told the jury that Mark’s conversation with her shortly after Julie’s death seemed scripted. She also told the jury that Mark seemed too happy at Julie’s wake.
Sharon Krause, the sister of Ruth Vorwald, who was the Jensens’ back-yard neighbor gave very brief testimony about hearing Mark talk soon after Julie’s death, mimicking her sister by saying his words sounded scripted.
A teacher of one of the Jensens’ sons took the stand to tell the jury that Julie had little experience using a computer. This testimony went on for a long time, with no obvious purpose.
One question from McNeill to DeFazio was objected to by Attorney Krause. McNeill wanted to introduce transcripts into evidence even though DeFazio said the transcripts wouldn’t refresh her memory. The Judge sustained the objection, which ticked off Special Prosecutor Bob Jambois, known for having a short fuse. He yelled at the judge for several seconds. “The jury probably hear that!” snapped Judge Milisauskas. A criminal defense attorney that didn’t wish for his or her name to be shared told KCE the judge got it right. “The transcripts can only be used for impeachment purposes if she said they wouldn’t jog her memory.”
The neighbor across the street, Carrie Ashley, told the jury that Mark got rid of some of Julie’s things in the garbage in the days after Julie’s death.
Julie Jensen’s neighbor and close friend, Margaret Wojt passed away since the first trial. Since she is an “unavailable witness” under state statute so her previously-recorded testimony could be played, because at the first trial, she was able to be cross-examined by Mark’s former attorneys. She testified about Julie told her she though Mark was going to kill her. This is the neighbor who received Julie’s letter that was the basis of Mark’s successful appeal. The jury won’t hear about the letter in this trial.
The court house looked beautiful as I left the courthouse – day three was adjourned. I’ll be back in court tomorrow.