Heather Jensen found guilty of child abuse and false reporting, but not guilty of homicide

MESA COUNTY - The 25-year-old mother whose two young sons succumbed to hyperthermia while locked in a heated SUV was found guilty Friday of two counts of child abuse resulting in death and false reporting.

However, Heather Jensen was found not guilty of criminally negligent homicide.

According to an arrest affidavit, the Palisade mother was having sex and smoking marijuana in a nearby truck when her sons, 2-year-old William Haze Jensen and 4-year-old Tyler Brandon Jensen, died after about 65 minutes in her running Toyota 4Runner.

The heat was running at its highest setting for more than an hour, according to investigators.

The boys died as a result  of overheating, according to the coroner.

The incident occurred on The Grand Mesa at Powderhorn Mountain Resort in November 2012.

Prosecutors argued  that Jensen failed to perceive the fatal risk associated with keeping her kids strapped and locked into the truck while the heat was on. Jensen’s defense argued at trial that Jensen has a below average IQ, and wasn’t able to perceive the deadly risk of her actions.

Prosecutors portrayed Heather Jensen as lying and selfish, while her lawyer described her as a lonely widow trying to protect her children.

The boys died one month after their father died. The boys' father, Eric Jensen, 26, died in a two-car accident Oct. 10,. 2012 in Garfield County.

Heather Jensen will be sentenced on March 21.

The jury of eight women and four men began deliberations in the case on Thursday following closing arguments.

Friends, relatives and neighbors in the apartment complex where Jensen and the boys lived told reporters that she was constantly leaving her boys with whoever would take them.