Jury Rules in Case of Wife 'Pushed Off Cliff'

Harold Henthorn was accused of first-degree murder
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2015 7:15 PM CDT
Updated Sep 21, 2015 8:15 PM CDT
This undated photograph provided by the Bertolet family shows Harold Henthorn and his wife, Toni.    (AP Photo/Bertolet Family)

(Newser) – A man accused of pushing his wife off a cliff may spend the rest of his life in prison. Today a Denver jury found Harold Henthorn, 59, guilty of premeditated murder in the death of wife Toni Henthorn, who took a 140-foot fall at Rocky Mountain National Park three years ago, KDVR reports. "My heart is still pounding," Toni's brother, Barry Bertolet, tells the Denver Post. "I'm very excited by the verdict." In the emotional aftermath of the decision, the victim's family sobbed, a juror came out and hugged Toni's mother, and family and friends shouted "Bye, Harold" as the convicted killer was taken away. But Harold's attorney, Craig Truman, argued in the trial that no evidence of murder was ever presented.

What was presented: Harold's inability to "tell the same story twice," Truman admitted. Prosecutors wrote in court documents that Harold told several versions of his wife's death—like being too busy texting to really see her fall, checking texts with her when she slipped, and her falling while taking photos. Prosecutors also said he had visited the park nine times before Toni's death, CBS Denver reports, and had a map in his car marked "X" in pink where Toni died. Worse, his first wife died in a gruesome accident in 1995, and he collected big life insurance payments in both cases. Harold wasn't charged in the death of first wife Sandra Lynn Henthorn, but that case is now re-opened. Harold will be sentenced for Toni's death on Dec. 8. (He was also accused of stealing her $30,000 wedding ring.)

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