DENVER — A man accused of shoving his wife off a cliff was unable to explain an “X” drawn on a map marking the spot of his wife’s fall, despite his claims to investigators the fall was an accident.
According to the Denver Post, Harold Henthorn, 59, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his second wife, Toni, who fell to her death from a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012. Henthorn’s trial began Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Henthorn shoved his wife to collect on a $4.5 million insurance policy, the Post reported. Prosecutors also believe Henthorn killed his first wife, Sandra, who was reportedly crushed under her car while her husband was changing a tire in a remote area in 1995.
Prosecutors also cited another instance in which Toni, the second wife who fell off the cliff, also suffered a fractured vertebrae in 2011 when a beam fell on her head from a porch on which Henthorn was working.
According to the Post, Henthorn had “smoothly retold” investigators details of Toni’s fall from the cliff in 2012, which he maintained was an accident, until confronted with a map investigators found in his Jeep, on which an “X” had been drawn at the spot of her fall.
“When I showed him this, he hemmed and hawed before he gave an explanation,” recounted investigative Ranger Mark Faherty, according to the Post. “He wasn’t sure why there was an X roughly where Toni fell.”
Henthorn told investigators Toni had stood on the edge of the cliff for a picture, and after he looked down at a text message on his phone, he looked up to notice his wife had fallen.
The Post reports Henthorn had taken out large life insurance policies on both of his wives, Sandra and Toni. Henthorn had told investigators he had taken out a $1 million policy for Toni. But prosecutor Suneeta Hazra said Henthorn had actually taken out three policies amounting to $4.5 million that his wife knew nothing about.
Hazra also said Henthorn’s stories kept changing regarding his wife’s fall when communicating with friend’s and family.
Defense attorney Craig Truman says the deaths of both Toni and Sandra were accidents.