Former local medical examiner testifies about antifreeze evidence found in Julie Jensen’s body

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Former Kenosha County Medical Examiner Dr. Mary Mainland took the witness stand Tuesday in the homicide retrial of Mark Jensen, the man accused of poisoning, drugging and then suffocating his wife to death over three days in December 1998.

Mainland, a forensic pathologist who testified in 2008 during the first trial of Mark Jensen in Kenosha County Circuit Court, testified again about the toxic substances found in Julie Jensen’s body after her death.

Mainland said she strongly believes the manner of the 40-year-old mother of two’s death was homicide, and the causes were antifreeze poisoning and asphyxiation.

Mainland, now retired, testified in person during the third week of the jury retrial of Mark Jensen for most of the morning. She strongly believes Julie Jensen did not die by suicide.

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A defense motion late Tuesday to dismiss the trial for lack of evidence was denied by Judge Anthony Milisauskas following a review of evidence offered by the prosecution.

Mark Jensen, now 63, was convicted in February 2008 for the murder of his wife inside their Carol Beach neighborhood home near the lakefront. He is standing trial again here after years of appeals and battles in state and federal courts.







MARK JENSEN TRIAL DAY 11

Special Prosecutor Robert Jambois, left, and Jeremy Perri, one of Mark Jensen’s attorneys, argue about how the previous trial should be referred to in front of the jury during the trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Tuesday. The court decided on referring to the 2008 trial as Jensen’s second hearing when in front of the jury.




Mark Jensen, according to prosecutors, killed his wife in early December 1998 by poisoning her with ethylene glycol, more commonly known as antifreeze, and then suffocating her while she lay in bed dying and gasping for air in order to be with a woman he was having an affair with. They also allege he killed Julie Jensen out of deep anger over a previous affair she had with a co-worker, along with other marriage issues.

Mark Jensen, a former stock broker, searched the internet for ways to make Julie Jensen’s death look like a suicide and terrorized her for years with strategically placed pornography, emails and phone calls, according to prosecutors.

Mark Jensen, however, has maintained his innocence ever since his wife’s death. His attorneys have argued Julie Jensen was deeply depressed and died by suicide after framing her husband for her death.

Pathologist’s testimony

Although Mainland did not conduct the autopsy on Julie Jensen herself, she reviewed the case, toxicology findings and medical records when she became medical examiner in Kenosha County in 2005.

Mainland testified during Mark Jensen’s forfeiture hearing that Julie Jensen died by ethylene glycol poisoning but could not rule out asphyxiation as a contributing factor in 2007, and then at his trial in 2008 after learning more about the case that Julie Jensen died from complications associated with both poisoning and suffocation.

She spoke at length Tuesday about how the ethylene glycol contributed to Julie Jensen’s death.

“There were a number of substances in Julie Jensen’s system, the most important being ethylene glycol which is the ingredient in antifreeze,” Mainland said regarding the lab reports on Julie Jensen’s 110-115 pound body. “The medical examiner found some microscopic findings particularly in the kidney tissue that were very worrisome for ethylene glycol poisoning.”

Effects of antifreeze

Photos of samples of Julie Jensen’s heavily damaged kidney’s were shown to the jury. Mainland explained at length how ethylene glycol destroys the body from the inside out if ingested, and how such materials were found in Julie Jensen’s stomach, liver and brain after her death.

“Ethylene glycol is an alcohol, and its structure is very similar to ethanol or beverage alcohol many of us enjoy,” Mainland said. “When ethylene glycol is first ingested it has the same effect as beverage alcohol does. A person will act drunk or loopy or they could have trouble walking or they could stumble around.

“Depending on how much a person takes they could have seizures and enter into a coma. And all of this can happen from about 30 minutes after exposure to about 12 hours after exposure. That’s the first phase of ethylene glycol poisoning.”

Mainland said the effects get much worse from there.

“Following that, the amount of ethylene glycol in the body decreases because it’s being processed by the liver, it’s processed into a number of other compounds, all of which are acids. The most important one for the next phase, phase 2 of ethylene glycol poisoning, is called glycolic acid. That causes the body to do whatever it can to try and get rid of the excess acid in the blood.

“So, the person will start to hyperventilate, you can get rid of acid by breathing fast, by getting rid of carbon dioxide. The person will hyperventilate and then they’ll have really deep and abnormal breathing. They also can have heart symptoms, the heart can pound, it can beat fast, it can even fail. That’s the second stage of poisoning and that starts anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after the ethylene glycol is ingested.”

As the ethylene glycol is processed into glycolic acid and other acids, one of which is oxalic acid, it combines with calcium in the blood and makes “crystals” that tend to lodge in the kidneys, Mainland explained.

“They cause kidney damage,” Mainland said. “The third stage starting about 24 to 72 hours after taking ethylene glycol is called the renal, or kidney phase. That’s where you can see the kidneys fail. You can see death in any one of the three phases.”

Julie Jensen’s kidneys had structures in them called tubules which contained crystals.

Mainland said Julie Jensen was likely given more than one dose of antifreeze because, in the days before her death, she displayed classic signs of ethylene glycol poisoning, including acting “drunk” and breathing heavily.

She said people who die by suicide with ethylene glycol typically ingest a large amount at one time and not by self-administering smaller doses over multiple days.

Other substances found inside Julie Jensen’s body included Ambien, Paxil and Librium.

Reason for new trial







MARK JENSEN TRIAL DAY 11

Mark Jensen, center, listens as Dr. Mary Mainland, former Kenosha County Medical Examiner, testifies during the trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Tuesday.




The original prosecutor, Robert Jambois, a former Kenosha County District attorney, is serving as special prosecutor before Judge Anthony Milisauskas, now the third Kenosha County Circuit Court judge to preside over the matter.

Mark Jensen is represented by a team of defense attorneys led by Bridget Krause.

A Kenosha County judge vacated Mark Jensen’s his conviction in April 2021 after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Jensen deserved a new trial.

Was it suicide or homicide? Julie Jensen died more than 20 years ago. Her husband, Mark Jensen, is on trial – again.



The court found that a letter his wife wrote incriminating him in the event something should happen to her could not be used by the prosecution as it was in the first trial. In early 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court helped pave the way for the new trial when it declined to hear an appeal of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling.

The so-called “letter from the grave” in which Julie Jensen wrote that “if anything happens to me” that her husband “would be my first suspect” will not be allowed into evidence during this lengthy trial. The high-profile case has sparked headlines across the nation.

The defense presented its opening statement in the Mark Jensen trial. Jensen is accused of killing his wife with antifreeze in 1998.



Mark Jensen, who is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in his wife’s death, remains in custody on a $1.2 million cash bond in Kenosha County. He faces life in prison.

The prosecution was set to rest Tuesday afternoon.

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Jury view video of Jensen home on day of Julie Jensen’s death

Forensic pathologist testifies in Mark Jensen’s homicide re-trial on Day 2

Mark Jensen retrial begins with opening statements after jury sworn in

DA’s office expects to spend $70,000 next year to re-try Jensen case

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Judge Anthony Milisauskas make a ruling on what components of witness David Thompson’s’ background can be given to the jury during Mark Jensen…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Jeremy Perri, center, argues about witness David Thompson’s criminal background during Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Judge Anthony Milisauskas, right, makes ruling on witness David Thompson’s background and how attorneys can question him during Mark Jensen’s …

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

David Thompson, who as an inmate with Mark Jensen in the Kenosha County Jail in 2007, walks away from the witness stand after testifying durin…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Paul Griffin, Julie Jensen’s brother, talks about Julie as he testifies during Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday,…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Paul Griffin, Julie Jensen’s brother, talks about Julie as he testifies during Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday,…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Paul Griffin, Julie Jensen’s brother, talks about Julie as he testifies during Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday.

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

David Thompson, who as an inmate with Mark Jensen in the Kenosha County Jail in 2007, testifies during Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Co…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Jeremy Perri, center right, and Bridget Krause, center left, both attorneys of Mark Jensen, speak during his trial at the Kenosha County Court…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Lynley Kapellusch, a former co-worker of Mark Jensen, testifies during Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 23, .

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Mark Jensen, left, speaks with Mackenzie Renner, one of his attorneys, during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Mark Jensen, left, talks with his former attorney Craig Albee, center, during a break in his trail at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday,…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Mark Jensen, left, talks with his former attorney Craig Albee, center, during a break in his trail at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday,…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Aaron Dillard, left, is sworn in by Judge Anthony Milisauskas before being cross-examined during Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Cou…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Mark Jensen, center, stands as the jury enters the room during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday.

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Criag Albee, Mark Jensen’s attorney in his 2008 trial, sits in the gallery to listen to Aaron Dillard’s testimony during Jensen’s trial at the…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Jeremy Perry, center, questions Aaron Dillard during Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday.

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Criag Albee, Mark Jensen’s attorney in his 2008 trial, right, sits in the gallery to listen to Aaron Dillard’s testimony during Jensen’s trial…

MARK JENSEN TRAIL DAY 10

Aaron Dillard answers questions during cross-examination during Mark Jensen’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.

Mark Jensen maintains he’s innocent and that his wife killed herself. Prosecutors say Jensen poisoned his wife with antifreeze, drugged her an…

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Former local medical examiner testifies about antifreeze evidence found in Julie Jensen’s body

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