A man accused of pushing his wife to her death off a cliff in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park also killed his first wife 17 years earlier, prosecutors said Wednesday, and a judge agreed the cases were "glaringly" similar.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya ordered Harold Henthorn, 58, to remain jailed without bond after a hearing in which prosecutors argued he was a dangerous flight risk with $1.5 million at his disposal that includes some of his late wife's assets.
"We don't believe it was his first murder," Assistant U.S. Attorney Suneeta Hazra told the judge. "He committed an earlier murder of his first wife in remarkably similar circumstances."
Henthorn only has been charged in the death of his second wife, 50-year-old Toni Henthorn. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of first-degree murder. Prosecutors said Henthorn plotted and planned to push her more than 140 feet off a cliff in a remote area far from the trail the couple had been hiking on Sept. 29, 2012. Henthorn had taken his wife to see the resplendent autumn color and snowy peaks of the national park to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary.
His first wife, Sandra Lynn Henthorn, was crushed to death in 1995 after a car slipped off a jack while they changed a flat tire. Authorities are still investigating that case.