Colorado Man Maintains Innocence As Judge Issues Life Sentence For Murdering Wife

| by Jordan Smith
Harold HenthornHarold Henthorn

A federal court judge sentenced Harold Henthorn, 59, to life imprisonment Dec. 8 for the murder of his second wife, Toni Henthorn, in 2012.

In September, Harold Henthorn was convicted of shoving his wife off a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorao. She fell 128 feet to her death, the Denver Post notes.

The sentence handed down by the judge was mandatory for a charge of first degree murder. But Henthorn maintained his innocence.

“I did not kill Toni or anyone,” he told the judge in court.

The couple were on a hike to celebrate their twelfth wedding anniversary. Harold said Toni slipped and fell from the cliff.

During the trial, jurors were shown a map with the location of the cliff marked on it, as well as a life insurance policy taken out by Harold in the name of Toni worth $4.7 million.

Barry Bertolet, Toni’s brother, rejected the idea of Harold’s innocence.

“In his warped mind that’s what he believes he is,” Bertolet said, according to CBS Denver. “He is just mentally ill, I believe in a lot of aspects.”

Suspicions are also growing about Henthorn’s involvement in the death of his first wife, Lynn Henthorn. She died in 1995 after a car crushed her while she was changing a wheel.

After a six-day investigation in 1995, local authorities determined Lynn’s death was an accident.

“We are beyond sorry for not seeing through it,” Kevin Rishell, Lynn’s sister, said, adding that he wished they had asked more questions at the time, according to CBS.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department has reopened an investigation into the 1995 death and named Harold as a suspect.

“It’s an open and active investigation,” spokeswoman Lori Bronner added, according to the Post.

On Dec. 8, the court also heard how Harold manipulated his 10-year-old daughter, Haley, making her believe everything was fine. According to Haley’s guardian ad litem, Barbara Cashman, the girl was only able to properly mourn her mother’s death after her father’s arrest.

Bertolet and his wife, Yvonne, are seeking to adopt Haley, but Harold is resisting the move.

“We still have to go to court,” Yvonne said.

Harold will reportedly appeal his guilty conviction.

Sources: CBS Denver, Denver Post / Photo credit: CBS Denver, Daniel Jarvis via CBS Denver