GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The verdict in this case came as a surprise to some as there were gasps from those in the courtroom. From others there was a belief that justice has been served.
A strong case was presented by both sides and ultimately the jury decided Heather Jensen will be held responsible for her actions that led to the untimely deaths of her two young sons.
The jury took its time before announcing Friday's decision and it was a long wait for Robert and Diane Mathena, the paternal grandparents of Jensen's two sons William and Tyler.
"Thank God it's over with we get to go home and kind of absorb this and kind of start healing again and be with our family," Robert Mathena.
The verdict isn't just a victory for the Mathenas, but also for the prosecution. They say the most powerful parts of their case was testimony from the medical expert who performed the autopsy on the boys as well as those who responded first to the scene.
Although Jensen was found not guilty of criminally negligent homicide, Assistant DA Rich Tuttle said justice was still served.
"We're very pleased with the verdict obviously we've worked hard on this case the Sheriff's department put a lot of time into this case," Rich Tuttle.
Tuttle said in his 24-year career he has never been part of a case like this when it comes to criminal negligence.
Experts testified during the trial that there have only been six reported cases of death by Hyperthermia in this manner, two of those were William and Tyler.
"It's certainty a case that's extremely rare and unusual in its circumstances," Tuttle.
The Mathenas said while they want Jensen to spend years behind bars, they hope she can get some help and experience personal growth.
"Learn how to have empathy for other people have feelings for somebody besides herself," Mathena.
Jurors declined on camera interviews but said they came to their not guilty verdict on criminally negligent homicide because some, like Jensen, did not believe it was a foreseeable risk to leave a child in the car with the heat on.
They also said their conversations always came back to the definition of the law and they are confident in their decision.
The defense and Jensen's family also declined interview requests after the verdict came down.
Heather Jensen was found guilty on the most serious charge of child abuse resulting in death and could face decades behind bars.
She will find out her fate when she is back in court on March 21 for sentencing.
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