• The Beekeeper's Son: Meet Douglas Jensen a man wrongfully convicted for his father's murder
In 2004, Douglas Jensen was charged and later convicted for his father's murder. In 2011, after almost seven years in prison, a jury found him not guilty. The Feed met with Douglas to take a look at a case that police say is still unsolved.
Airdate: 
Monday, May 5, 2014 - 19:30
Channel: 
SBS Two

On February 2nd 2000, Marius Jensen, 72, was found dead from a single shotgun wound to the head in the kitchen of his Victorian farmhouse. Marius was a beekeeper and his son Douglas Jensen was home at the time of his death.

Douglas heard a noise when the gun went off but says it was muffled because he has hearing loss in one ear. When Douglas emerged from his bedroom he found his father lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood.

Douglas says he didn't know what to do when he discovered his father's body so he drove to the local police station to get help.

"It was surreal, to see the person laying there it was absolutely surreal," says Douglas. "You’re physically seeing it but your mind doesn’t want to believe it – so you're in a, it’s a haze, what’s going on. You’re confused you don’t know what to do."

"I drove to the police station and went into the station and told them what I found... I got the sense that they were pointing the finger of blame at me from the very moment that the police arrived on this property."

In late 2001, Douglas Jensen and his brother, Colin Jensen, found listening and tracking devices in their vehicle and home.

Colin says once he realised they were being tracked he would purposely get up in the middle of the night to take the police on a "wild goose chase".

"You just get up at 2:30am in the morning and start your vehicle up and just go for a random drive somewhere," says Colin.

On May 7, 2004, Douglas Jensen was arrested and charged with his father's murder.

A key piece of evidence was the discovery of a book, ‘Forensic Clues to Murder’, which includes a chapter about the shooting murder of a person at the kitchen table, staged to look like a suicide.

"The book was not mine," says Douglas. "And the odd part about that was no attempt was made to forensically connect that to me or anybody else."

On June 13 2007 Douglas was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison with 16 years non-parole.


Colin Jensen remembers the day Douglas was convicted vividly and says he found out about the conviction through a friend.

"My friend was listening on the radio that day and he rang me up when he heard the news," says Colin. "He said your brother has been convicted of murder."

Douglas says he wasn't really prepared for the reality of being incarcerated and found prison to be a confronting experience.

"Because of my upbringing, I was as green as a cucumber going into prison," says Douglas. "It was an eye-opener and a half."

"It’s just an insult to any humanity you’ve ever attempted to maintain. People that I’d never imagined in my wildest dreams I’d ever meet, and never wanted to meet, and I was in with them."

"The only thing that kept me going was the thought of the appeal, that is really what happened."

In late 2009, Douglas represented himself in the Supreme Court of Appeal, with three justices finding a “very substantial miscarriage of justice”.

A new trial was set for February 2011 and when the jury returned they found Douglas Jensen not guilty.

"I was free," says Douglas. "I released a very loud expletive and fell backwards into the chair behind me."

"After that you have to attempt to take the first step on the long road of integration back into the community."

But after almost seven years in prison Douglas says it's difficult to find a way back to the normality of life outside.

"The experience of prison has definitely had an effect on me," says Douglas. "It has permanently changed me."

"You can’t put a human into custody, one that is innocent I might add, and treat them like an animal for seven years and expect that they are just going to integrate back in."

And while many people might be looking for answers or for revenge on the system that wrongfully convicted them - Douglas says he just wants people to know that a mistake was made.

"I want the recognition of having been wrongfully convicted," says Douglas.

At this stage Douglas has not received any compensation for the time he spent in prison.

The Feed contacted the Victorian Attorney-General for an interview. A spokesperson for Minister Robert Clark said:

“It would not be appropriate to comment on a specific case."

"All applications are considered on their merits. Having a finding of guilt overturned on appeal will not usually give rise to an ex-gratia payment.”

The Feed also approached the Victorian Homicide Squad for an interview. A spokesperson for the Victorian Police said:

“As the matter has been before court and Mr Jensen was found not guilty on appeal, there's nothing further for us to comment on."
 
"The investigation into the death of Marius Jensen is unsolved. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers.”

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