After an hour-and-a-half deliberation an Iroquois County jury on March 9 found a Sheldon man guilty of first degree murder.
Arthur Jensen was on trial from March 6-9 for the 2019 murder of a 17-year-old teenager authorities referred to as A.B.
Jensen was represented by defense attorney Lance Cagle and public defender Samantha Dodds. Assistant States Attorney Mike Quinlan and Jennifer E. Mansberger presented the state’s case in Judge Michael Sabol’s courtroom. The trial started March
Jensen was charged with one count first degree murder with intention to kill/injure and one count of first degree murder with a strong probability to kill/injure.
Police were called to Jensen’s home at 315 W. Main in Sheldon on Aug. 5, 2019, for a disturbance. At that time, Iroquois County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and investigated the disturbance, speaking with several residents in the area. Sheldon Police arrived and made contact with Jensen, who was taken into custody and police found the victim inside the residence soon after that.
During the course of the trial, the state presented several witnesses and expert testimony. Jensen testified on his own behalf during the defense’s portion of the trial.
Sheldon Police Chief Bryan Havens testified March 7 in Judge Michael Sabol’s courtroom that when he arrived he spoke with Jensen. He said Jensen told him that A.B. had been at his house earlier for a yard sale a different day and that she was at his house to look at some Pocahontas toys the day she was murdered. Havens said that when he spoke with Jensen about what happened on Aug. 5, 2019, Jensen told him that he has anger issues and then told him “I (expletive) strangled her.”
Dr. Michael Humilier’s written testimony that was read into the court record by Sabol noted Humilier’s findings during the autopsy and concluded that A.B. died from ligature strangulation, having been strangled by Jensen with a blue nylon rope.
Mansberger reiterated the state’s case during closing arguments, noting that A.B. and her mother had been at Jensen’s home for a garage sale and she had purchased some Disney glasses. He had similar glasses that she was also interested in and A.B. went back to Jensen’s home on Sunday to look at them, with Jensen telling her to come back “tomorrow”.
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Mansberger said witnesses also testified that they heard Jensen talk about A.B. with “locker room talk”. Other witnesses testified, she said, that they arrived at Jensen’s house on Aug. 5, 2019 and heard noises in the house and then heard a young girl say “Stop”, “Let me go” and “I won’t tell police if you just let me go”. They then backed away and called police themselves.
Cagle said in closing arguments that the defense did not dispute that Jensen killed A.B. He said they did dispute the first degree murder.
He said Jensen testified that he did not know that A.B. was going to his house on Aug. 5. He was expecting two other people and left the door open for them. Cagle said the footage from the cameras on Jensen’s property and the data from his cell phone never showed he made contact with her.
Quinlan showed a selection of video footage that he said showed Jensen told A.B. to “come back tomorrow”.
Cagle said that Jensen testified that he did not know she was going to his house that day and that they spoke outside and he thought the conversation was over.
He went inside and when he came out of the bathroom area A.B. was standing in his living room, which startled him. Cagle said Jensen testified he tried to get her physically out of his house but during the struggle he became enraged and pulled the rope from his pocket, which he said he had because he had been packing up the garage sale items, and strangled her. Cagle said the case is not a first degree murder case and asked the jury to consider if it was second degree murder or involuntary manslaughter instead. Cagle also noted that Jensen had the misconception that when an intruder is in one’s home the owner can “do what he needed to do to get them out of your house”.
Quinlan argued in cross examination that when Jensen first talked with police and admitted he strangled A.B. he never mentioned any of the other comments about being startled by her in his living room and trying to get her out of the house.
After the verdict, Iroquois County States Attorney James Devine said Jensen’s bond of $1 million was revoked and he will continue to be housed in the Iroquois County Jail until sentencing, which is in early May.