Man Convicted of Murder for Pushing Wife Off Cliff

While hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park

Sep 22, 2015
Outside Magazine
Rocky Mountain National Park

Harold Henthorn was convicted on Monday of murdering his wife by pushing her off a cliff in 2012.    Miguel Vieira / Flickr;

On Monday, Harold Henthorn, 59, was convicted of murdering his second wife, Toni Henthorn, in September 2012, by pushing her off a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park, according to CNN. Henthorn told investigators that his second wife fell from a 128-foot cliff while taking photos at the top of a hiking trail, but federal prosecutors claim that Henthorn pushed her so he could collect $4.7 million in life insurance. 

In 1995, Henthorn’s first wife, Sandra Lynn, was killed in what he claimed was a freak accident while changing a flat tire in Colorado. He told investigators that while Lynn was under the car, it supposedly slipped off the jack and crushed her. However, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office discovered an apparent footprint on the front fender of the car, suggesting it may have been kicked, the Washington Post reports. Henthorn and Lynn had taken out a sizable life insurance policy months before her death. This and other similarities surrounding the women’s deaths—including similar statements made by Henthorn and rushed cremations—led prosecutors to question the 2012 death in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Prosecutors pointed to discrepancies between Henthorn’s story and the timeline of events—the Washington Post reported that he texted about his wife being injured after he knew she was dead—but an “X” drawn on Henthorn’s hiking map at the precise location of his wife’s fall led a federal jury to convict him. 

Authorities have also reopened the case on Henthorn’s first wife, according to the Washington Post.

“Today’s conviction means that Harold Henthorn will never hurt or kill another woman,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer told reporters Monday. “Instead, he will likely spend the rest of his natural life in a prison cell.”

Craig Truman, Henthorn’s attorney, claimed there is no evidence his client pushed his wife off the cliff and said Henthorn will likely appeal the verdict, according to the Denver Post.

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