Mark Jensen Kenosha murder trial: State rests, defense begins its case

Prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in the new homicide trial of Mark Jensen, a man being retried for allegedly poisoning and killing his wife more than two decades ago. The state says Jensen poisoned his wife with antifreeze – lacing it in some juice he gave to his wife to swallow a cocktail of medications.

In the first trial, the prosecutor did a bit of taste and tell with the medical examiner. Not this time around. Yes, former Kenosha County Medical Examiner Mary Mainland did sip antifreeze – that was brought up in court. But Mainland's opinion of how Julie Jensen died remains the same. She believes Julie was poisoned over several days with ethylene glycol and smothered – that it was a homicide.

Mark Jensen

"At the last hearing, I had you taste antifreeze, did I not?" asked special prosecutor Robert Jambois. 

"Yes, you did," Mainland replied. 

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"How did it taste?" asked Jambois. 

"It was sweet," Mainland answered.

Dr. Mary Mainland

Prosecutors say Jensen dosed his wife with antifreeze at least twice in the days before Julie Jensen died. They say it was part of a months-long plot based on internet searches on the Jensen's home computer. 

"You'd find about the effects and etcetera, and you'd also find it's not usually tested for at autopsy," Mainland testified. 

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The thing is, ethylene glycol was found in Julie Jensen's body.

Special prosecutor Robert Jambois

"What was the cause of her death?" Jambois asked. 

"Ethylene glycol poisoning with probable terminal asphyxia," Mainland replies. 

It was ruled a homicide. 

"The circumstances surrounding the death -- all these things that we take into account -- did not fit the pattern of suicide," Mainland said.

Dr. Mainland changed Julie Jensen's cause of death after reading a letter from a snitch jailed alongside Jensen. He testified Jensen told him he poisoned his wife, drugged her, and suffocated her.

Mark Jensen has maintained he is innocent – and his wife killed herself in their Pleasant Prairie home in 1998.

"You’re trying to come up with something that, the most consistent explanation that makes sense to you, right?" asked defense attorney Jeremy Perri.

"Yes," replied Mainland. 

Julie Jensen

Jensen's defense tried to poke holes – that the autopsy was not properly done, that some findings could be explained away, and not everything was taken into account.

"The majority of people who commit suicide are suffering from depression?" Perri asked.

"I would agree with that," Mainland said. 

Mainland spent more than five hours on the witness stand – and then prosecutors rested their case.

Mark Jensen

More than a month was set aside for the trial.