By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) – A federal judge sentenced Harold Henthorn to life in prison with no chance of parole at an emotional sentencing hearing in Denver on Tuesday.
In September, a jury convicted Henthorn of murder for shoving his second wife, Toni, off a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012.
Speaking to the judge, Henthorn spoke briefly saying “I did not kill Toni or anyone.”
Henthorn’s attorney previously told CBS4 Henthorn plans to appeal his conviction. The Highlands Ranch man, wearing a tan jail jumpsuit and making no eye contact with anyone in the courtroom gallery, also spoke of his 10-year-old daughter.
“I love Haley so much,” said Henthorn.
Barry Bertolet, Toni Henthorn’s brother, said he was surprised Henthorn spoke.
“In his warped mind that’s what he believes he is,” said Bertolet. “He is just mentally ill, I believe, in a lot of aspects.”
Kevin Rishell, the brother of Henthorn’s first wife Lynn, said after the hearing, “He was a con man of all con men and he deserved what he got.”
Henthorn’s attorney asked the judge to direct the Federal Bureau of Prisons to place Henthorn in a facility in Colorado, presumably to remain geographically close to his daughter.
However Barabara Cashman, a guardian ad litem representing Haley Henthorn, said the girl wants nothing to do with her father.
“The only thing Harold Henthorn has going for him is Haley’s prayers,” said Cashman, who said the girl no longer refers to Henthorn as her father but as “Mr. Henthorn.”
Cashman said Haley was “no longer a victim of Harold’s deception.” She’s thriving, said the GAL who said Henthorn’s daughter has completely rejected him and broken free of the control and manipulation he brought to her life.
Cashman said the little girl went trick-or-treating this past Halloween for the first time in her life, an indication of the control her father exerted over her.
“We had to tell her how to do it,” said Barry Bertolet. “It’s very sad, really.”
Bertolet and his wife Paula are attempting to adopt Haley.
In court, Bertolet called Henthorn evil and said Harold Henthorn had not been unlucky but his wives had been.
Bertolet called the death of Harold Henthorn’s wives, “His own version of a post mortem lottery.”
He was referring to the hefty insurance policies Harold Henthorn had taken out on both his wives.
His first wife, Lynn, died in 1995 when the couple’s Jeep fell on her during a tire change. Harold Henthorn insisted it was an accident.
The Douglas County Sheriff closed the case as an accident within six days but reopened the 1995 case in 2012 following the death of Toni Henthorn. Lynn’s brother, Kevin Rishell, said his family believed at the time that Lynn died in an accident and his family regrets not asking more questions at the time.
“We are beyond sorry for not seeing through it,” said Rishell. He said there was “a special place in hell for someone like him.”
Toni Henthorn’s father, Bob Bertolet, spoke in court saying “We never imagined murder would come into our lives like a thief in the night. How could money be so important … he would kill the mother of his 7-year-old daughter?” asked Bertolet.
Henthorn’s brother, Rob, was in court but did not speak on behalf of his brother.