Harold Henthorn, 58, is charged with pushing his second wife over a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012. Prosecutors say that Henthorn told dramatically different stories about her death, as well as the death of his first wife. In fact, prosecutors say that Henthorn even joked about being a “bride killer” and was eager, in both cases, to have his wives bodies cremated, despite family’s requests against it.
The Denver Post reports that Harold Henthorn benefited financially from the death of his wives, as both had substantial life insurance policies in Henthorn’s name. Federal prosecutors say that the death of Henthorn’s wives were both “bizarre” and occurred in remote locations where Harold was the only available witness.
The death of Harold’s first wife, Lynn Henthorn, was ruled a “freak accident” in 1995 when Harold told police about his faulty car jack that resulted in Lynn being pinned under the car and later dying from her injuries.
“Henthorn told law enforcement that because his car jack was not working properly, he had used two boat jacks to lift the Jeep. Lynn held a flashlight and the lug nuts while Henthorn changed the tire. When he later threw the low tire in the back of the car, the car fell off the jacks. He heard Lynn call for help and found her pinned underneath the car.”
However, prosecutors say things didn’t quite add up. Lynn was wearing a nice sweater that she most likely would not have wanted to get dirty on the ground underneath the Jeep. She had also recently undergone surgery that would have made it difficult for her to crawl on the ground. In addition to the bizarre situation of Lynn being on the ground and Henthorn standing next to the vehicle as it fell to the ground, Harold also hindered efforts by passers-by to perform CPR on Lynn. The Denver Post notes that Harold told the passers-by not to perform CPR on Lynn while also noting that it was cold outside and Harold had left Lynn exposed to the elements. It was not Harold that provided a coat for Lynn, but the first responders, even though he was wearing a coat of his own he could have given to his dying wife.
There was not enough evidence to prove any wrong-doing in the death of Harold’s first wife; therefore, he received $500,000 from three life insurance policies, including one taken out just four months prior to the accident.
Fast forward to 2012, Harold is now married to wife number two, Toni Henthorn. According to the Daily Mail, the couple was celebrating their 12 year anniversary by taking a hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park. However, during the hike, Toni fell from a 140-foot cliff. Harold claims that his wife slipped while trying to take a photo. However, police questioned Harold as to why he had a map with an “X” drawn on the spot his wife fell during the deadly hike. Harold had also previously told investigators that Toni had bad knees and may have been climbing down the remote cliff when she fell.
Much like in the death of his first wife, Harold had taken out a large life insurance policy on Toni before her death. Toni was insured by three life insurance policies totaling $4.5 million. Also similar to his first wife’s death, Harold pushed for a quick cremation of the body against family’s wishes.
Federal prosecutors are now hoping that a judge will allow the bizarre circumstances of Harold’s first wife’s death be brought into court for the murder trial of Toni. Prosecutors are also asking that the judge allow evidence of a previous attempt on Toni’s life by Harold to be heard. According to court documents, the fall from the cliff was not the first time Toni had a brush with death. In fact, just two years prior, Toni was hit on the head by a 20-foot beam that Harold had thrown off the deck. Again, Harold was the only witness and later joked with friends that he was “trying to kill his wife.”
However, friends noted that it was an “odd joke” for someone who had already lost a wife.
“It was an odd joke for someone who had already lost his first wife in tragedy.”