KENOSHA, Wis. - A Kenosha County jury found Mark Jensen guilty on Wednesday, Feb. 1 of first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of his wife, Julie Jensen, in 1998. The jury deliberated for more than six hours.
No one on the defense team and no jurors wanted to speak with the media after the guilty verdict was read in court. But the prosecution team had plenty to say.
"Mark Jensen really sunk his own ship. He couldn't keep his mouth shut. If anybody writes a book about this case, it should be called "Blabbermouth" because that's what Mark Jensen is -- and that's what his own father called him in one of these phone calls," said special prosecutor Robert Jambois. "His own father said, 'Well, Jambois sure has your number.' And Mark Jensen said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'Well, you're a blabbermouth. You are a blabbermouth. You can't keep your mouth shut.' That's what his father said -- and it's Mark's big mouth that got him in more trouble than anything else."
Prosecutors convinced the jury Jensen poisoned his wife, drugged her, and smothered her in their Pleasant Prairie home in 1998.
"The defendant stole Julie away from her children, and her children away from her," said Carli McNeill, Kenosha County Deputy District Attorney.
Carli McNeill, Kenosha County Deputy District Attorney
Police suspected Mark Jensen from the start in part because of a letter Julie Jensen had written days before she died. Jambois read that letter to reporters following the verdict.
"I pray I'm wrong and nothing happens. I'm suspicious of Mark's suspicious behaviors," Jambois said, reading from the letter. "If anything happens to me, he would be my first suspect. Our relationship has deteriorated to the plight; superficial. I know he's never forgiven me for the brief affair I had with that creep seven years ago."
Jambois prosecuted the case as the Kenosha County District Attorney – and was at the Jensen home the night of Julie's death.
"I didn’t know at that time it was going to take a third of my life to put Mark Jensen away. But it was worth it -- and I would do it again if the opportunity or necessity arose," Jambois said.
Jambois also noted the following for reporters…
"This is the second-longest jury trial in my entire career – it's three-and-a-half weeks. The longest jury trial in my career was also this case – and that was seven-and-a-half weeks long," Jambois said. "So the two longest trials of my career all involve Mark Jensen."
Julie Jensen's relatives
The Jensen family was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read. But Julie Jensen's brothers were there during the trial. Larry Griffin said they were all uncomfortable, but they did it to keep Julie's murderer behind bars.
Griffin shared photos of Julie Jensen this week. He said his sister was kind and caring. Griffin thanked neighbors, friends and first responders who were there for Julie in her time of need back in 1998. Griffin also said Julie loved her two sons more than anything – and she would have never left them.
Again, part of Mark Jensen's defense included letter written from prison. Griffin said the family was upset those letters made Julie seem irrational and suicidal.
"We’re following through on Julie’s words, desperate words that she wrote on November 21st, 1998. If anything happens to me, he would be my first suspect," Griffin said.
"First of all, they want their sister back. They love their sister, they miss their sister. They wanted their story told. The way that the Jensen family attacked the Griffin family is just reprehensible," Jambois said.
Griffin mentioned Women and Children's Horizons, a shelter in Kenosha that advocates for victims of domestic abuse. Griffin said he hopes Julie's story encourages people who find themselves in a similar situation to ask for help.
Jensen is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14. Jambois noted Jensen would be sentenced based on the law back in 1998. So the options for the court include:
- Life in prison with 20 years parole
- Life in prison with parole eligibility later than 20 years
- Life in prison without parole