An accusatory letter penned by a woman who turned up dead ultimately helped a jury convict her husband. But it also could be what gets him a new trial in the nearly 10-year-old case.
A jury convicted Mark Jensen last week of killing Julie Jensen on Dec. 3, 1998, in their Pleasant Prairie home. Some jurors cited the letter as a key piece of evidence.
Julie Jensen left the note with a neighbor to give to police if something happened to her.
"I pray that I am wrong and nothing happens, but I am suspicious of Mark's suspicious behaviors and fear for my early demise," Julie Jensen wrote in the letter. She said she refused to leave because of their two young sons.
Mark Jensen, her husband of 14 years, claimed she was depressed, committed suicide and framed him. At the time, Mark Jensen was having an affair with a woman he has since married.
He faces a mandatory penalty of life in prison during sentencing, set for Wednesday. The judge was to determine if he should ever be eligible for parole.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a California case with similar elements in April. Legal experts say if the court overturns that conviction, it could pave the way for Mark Jensen to get a new trial.
"It would surprise me if he didn't get a new trial based on that," said Phillip A. Koss, a University of Wisconsin-Madison adjunct professor and Walworth County district attorney.
Mark Jensen, now 48, was charged with first-degree murder in 2002, but legal wrangling over evidence delayed the trial repeatedly.
The evidence included the letter, as well as Julie Jensen's statements to police, a neighbor and her son's teacher about her suspicions.