A federal judge has overturned the murder conviction of a Wisconsin man was accused of poisoning his wife with anti-freeze, and ordered him released from prison within 90 days.
Mark Jensen appealed his 2008 Kenosha County conviction, focusing on the prosecutor’s use of his dead wife’s written words to a neighbor, which he maintained violated his Constitutional right to confront witnesses against him. The letter, which the neighbor gave to police, had Julie Jensen suggesting her husband as the prime suspect if anything happened to her.
Chief U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled that Jensen’s rights were violated during the trial and vacated the conviction. Appeals courts on the state law had previously upheld the use of the “voice from the grave” evidence.
The District Attorney’s office can still decide whether to retry the case. If it does, Griesbach’s order to release Jensen could be stayed while a new trial is set up. A special prosecutor was used last time, with the jury from Walworth County deliberating for three days before issuing a verdict.