GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4)– A mother accused in the deaths of her children may strike a deal with prosecutors to avoid trial.
Police said Heather Jensen abandoned her two young boys to have sex with a man in another car last November.
The coroner said Jensen’s two boys, William, 2, and Tyler, 4, died from overheating inside Jensen’s SUV high up on the Grand Mesa near the Powderhorn Ski Area.
The family of Jensen’s late husband said they would rather see her face the death penalty but that’s not possible because Jensen is facing criminally negligent homicide, false reporting and child abuse charges in the deaths of her children. The death penalty isn’t an option for those charges.
Those charges could change, too, if Jensen reaches a plea agreement.
Cameras weren’t allowed in Wednesday’s hearing in the case in Grand Junction but those in court told CBS4 that Jensen showed up with her hair permed and a smile on her face. In the brief hearing Jensen waived her right to a preliminary hearing, which keeps open the option for a plea agreement.
When asked if he agreed with the possibility of a plea agreement Robert Mathena, the step-grandfather of the boys, said, “Not really but we have no control over the justice system. We have to accept what it is. She will be judged when she dies.”
According to court documents, Jensen left the boys in a car for more than two hours and checked on them only periodically while she did drugs and had sex with a man in a nearby vehicle. Sheriff’s office tests on the vehicle showed it could reach as high as 150 degrees in the car with the heat on.
Jensen could face 12 years in prison but an assistant district attorney said details of a possible deal could change before the next hearing, which is scheduled for May 30.
“I’d like to see it come to an end and have her out of our life forever,” said Mathena. “Tired of playing her little games.”
Jensen’s husband was killed in a car crash about six weeks before the boys were found dead. It took a lengthy custody battle with Jensen for Mathena and other family members to get custody of the boys’ bodies, and in February they were buried next to their father’s grave in Palisade.
Mathena told CBS4 that he and his family visit the cemetery every day. They said few days ago an open letter was found sitting on top of the tombstones. He said it appeared to have been written by Jensen from behind bars, and was probably mailed to a friend who placed it on the tombstone.
Matena described the beginning of what was written in the letter as follows:
“(It said) I miss you. I’m so sorry. Mommy didn’t mean to do this. It was an accident. I would never put you in harm’s way. … ‘I would never hurt you.’ and ‘I was a good mommy.’ ”
He said the letter also indicated that Jensen gave the boys “45 minutes of CPR before the medics showed up” but he said the plausibility of that is “crap” and a lie.
“I feel that if they wouldn’t have died this time they would have died sooner or later in her hands,” Mathena said.