Once is a tragedy but is twice murder? Colorado prosecutors think so and is charging a man with the death of both his first AND second wife. A local CBS story has more information.
58-year-old Harold Henthorn is accused of pushing his wife off a cliff in Rocky Mountain park in Colorado. Prosecutors now think he also murdered his first wife 17 years earlier under similar circumstances.
“We don’t believe it was his first murder,” the Assistant U.S. Attorney told the judge. “He committed an earlier murder of his first wife in remarkably similar circumstances.”
The Judge appeared to agree with the prosecutor and ordered the suspect to be held without bond. The state had requested the hearing, calling Harold a “flight risk” with a large amount of disposable income he could use to flee.
So far Henthorn has only been charged with the murder of his second wife, pleading not guilty to the charge.
Per the police, the suspect is accused of pushing her off a 140 foot cliff in a remote part of the trail back in September of 2012. Ironically, he had taken the victim on a surprise trip to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary!
There were no other witnesses to the fall other then the suspect himself. Family members of the victim becam suspicious and contacted the police. After an extensive police investigation, including an asset check showing the defendant was living off millions of his dead wife’s money, a grand jury indicted him on her murder.
Henthorn’s story unraveled under further investigation of his assets. He told multiple people that he was a professional fundraiser but his tax return found no information of employment. Most experts found this very unusual.
The Judge agreed: “To have ready access to $1.5 million in cash is very troubling in a case of this kind because it means the defendant has the means to flee,” Also disturbing, the judge mentioned, were recent transfers of large amounts of money into accounts belonging to Henthorn’s brother. That is a sign of someone hiding money for a nest egg for a sudden flight.
Toni’s family members also found other evidence. Toni was a well-off doctor in Mississippi when she met Harold. Harold convinced her he was wealthy and together they moved to Colorado. Once there, the “wealthy” man became controlling and obsessed with money according to the deceased’s family.
It was only after their daughter’s death did her parents realize that she was covered by three different types of life insurance totaling almost five million dollars. The first claim came in only a few days after she died.
This was not the suspect’s first go-around with life insurance. In 1995 he collected $500,000 in life insurance from the death of his first wife. Sandra Henthorn was killed when a car slipped off a jack while she and Harold were changing a flat tire. That first death is still under investigation but police and prosecutors noticed many similarities between the two “accidents” involving Harold’s wives.
Ironically, the suspect had no prior criminal record other then a theft charge involving underwear back in the 90’s.