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Henthorn Defense Rests Without Calling Any Witnesses

DENVER (CBS4) - Harold Henthorn declined to call any witnesses nor testify on his own behalf as his defense team rested Thursday morning, moments after prosecutors rested their case following about two weeks of testimony.

Federal authorities have Henthorn on trial for the death of his second wife, Toni, who fell to her death in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012 during an anniversary hike. Henthorn says it was an accident but prosecutors believe Henthorn pushed his ophthalmologist wife to her death, seeking $4.7 million in insurance and other benefits in the event of his wife's death.

Prosecutors also believe Henthorn killed his first wife Lynn, who died in 1995 in what he suggested was another freak accident. In that case, the couple's Jeep fell on her during a tire change. Douglas County authorities ruled it an accident within a week, but reopened the case after the death of Toni Henthorn, 17 years after the death of Henthorn's first wife. In the case of Lynn Henthorn, prosecutors have indicated they believe Harold Henthorn was after about $645,000 in insurance he received following Lynn Henthorn's death.

During testimony Thursday, Beth Shott, a criminal investigator for the National Park Service, said federal investigators placed a "tracker" on Henthorn's BMW during the spring of 2013 as part of their investigation. The device allowed agents to track Henthorn's movements during their probe. She also said federal agents had Henthorn under direct surveillance and would follow him on a sporadic basis to make sure he didn't flee.

henthorn case
Harold Henthorn with his first wife, Lynn (left) and his second wife Toni (credit: CBS)

Earlier in the trial, a friend of Harold Henthorn's testified that Henthorn told him he was taking Toni to a remote area of Rocky Mountain National Park to make love, and that he packed a blanket for the occasion. But Shott told the jury that the area where Toni fell to her death, the spot Harold Henthorn had chosen, was rocky and undulating and there was "no place to lie down."

VIDEO: Watch the CBS4 special "Inside The Investigation: Harold Henthorn

Through the trial, prosecutors had discussed Toni Henthorn's wedding ring. The diamond from the ring was missing after her fall down the cliff. Harold Henthorn told a friend authorities insinuated he took the diamond, a "horrible accusation" he said. In the hours and days after Toni Henthorn's death, investigators documented the scene but said they never found the diamond. Henthorn had told his friend he had "half a mind" to return to where his wife died and search for the missing stone. However Shott testified that when she returned to the spot where Toni Henthorn's body was found, the diamond was sitting on top of the dirt, in plain view.

Thursday, one juror asked Schott if she knew how the diamond, suddenly and mysteriously, showed up.

"I do not," responded the federal investigator.

Schott also testified about a pair of binoculars used by Toni Henthorn the day of her death. In a photo shown to the jury, Toni Henthorn was peering through the binoculars shortly before she fell to her death. Shott testified those binoculars were never found.
Closing arguments in the Henthorn trial begin at 9 a.m. Friday and Judge R. Brooke Jackson said he would not place any limits on how long prosecutors and defense attorneys can go.

"But it is Friday," Jackson reminded the attorneys with a smile.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.


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