Man convicted of pushing wife off cliff to her death sentenced to life in prison

Harold and Toni Henthorn

Harold and Toni Henthorn (Photo: Toni Henthorn family)

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DENVER -- Harold Henthron, the man convicted of killing his wife by pushing her off a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in federal court on Tuesday.

Henthorn was sent to prison for life under mandatory sentencing guidelines. Henthorn, of Highlands Ranch, was found guilty in September of first-degree murder of his second wife, Toni Henthorn.

Henthorn, wearing a light brown prison suit, spoke before the sentencing and was unrepentant, saying "I did not kill Toni or anyone else."

The guardian for Henthorn's 10-year-old daughter Haley spoke in court, saying the child no longer refers to Henthorn as her father, only "Mr. Henthorn."

Toni Henthorn's older brother said Harold Henthorn is "the evil that lurks in unthinkable places" and that he's "morally cheap and bankrupt of honesty."

Initially, no foul play was suspected in the September 2012 death of Toni Henthorn, with Harold Henthorn telling investigators his wife had slipped and fell 140 feet to her death as they were hiking on Deer Mountain Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park park to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary.

But prosecutors spent two weeks arguing what Toni's family had long suspected: Harold had purposefully pushed Toni, with his motive being to get his hands on his wife's insurance money. A career eye doctor, Toni Henthorn had insurance policies totaling about $4.7 million.

Defense attorneys argued Toni Henthorn had slipped while trying to take a photo. Harold Henthorn never took the stand in his own defense.

Prosecutors painted Harold Henthorn's version of events as unreliable, saying it often changed.

"(Harold) told several conflicting stories about how Toni died," prosecutors wrote in court documents. "He told law enforcement and family members that he did not see her fall, but rather witnessed a blur while he was reading text messages. He told another witness both he and Toni were checking text messages and Toni had wandered too close to the edge. He told other witnesses that Toni was trying to take pictures and slipped."

Investigators also found a map in Harold Henthorn's car that was marked with a pink X in the area where Toni fell.

Harold Henthorn is also a suspect in the death of his first wife, Sandra, who was crushed to death by their vehicle in 1995. Prosecutors said that was a staged accident as well and that both deaths were "eerily" similar.

"I don't know what's more monstrous, to drop a Jeep on his first wife of push his second wife off the cliff," the brother of Sandra Henthorn said.

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