Linda Jensen Murder – The Mystery Behind The Gruesome Killing

By | March 31, 2023

Linda Jensen, who was 39 years old and the wife of Charlie Jensen, was found brutally stabbed and strangled on her bedroom floor.

Charlie immediately contacted 911 after discovering his wife’s dead body.

The call was made in Big Lake, Minnesota, just after 4:00 p.m. on that day, as per recordings gathered by “An Unexpected Killer,” which airs on Oxygen on Fridays at 8/7c.

The murder weapon was identified as a steak knife that belonged to Linda’s kitchen.

No other signs of a break-in were evident, and no blood or fingerprints that didn’t belong to Linda were discovered. The police initially interviewed Charlie in connection with the crime.

Linda and Charlie had been childhood sweethearts, marrying when she was only 18 in 1971. They welcomed their son, Andrew, into the world in 1973. However, due to Charlie’s drinking issues, Linda filed for divorce in 1978.

Linda began dating Robert Beard in 1982, and they had a son named Joey.

However, their relationship ended when Joey was still a child. Linda then married John Silliman in 1986 and relocated to California with him. John adopted Joey, which necessitated Beard’s relinquishment of parental rights.

Their marriage, however, failed after a few years, and Linda and Joey returned to Minnesota in 1990. It was there that Linda reconnected with Charlie, who had stopped drinking.

The two confessed to their family that their love had never faded, and they remarried on April 4, 1991. Two months later, their daughter Lisa was born.

The case

Following the discovery of Linda Jensen’s body, a lengthy list of suspects emerged, and the real killer went undetected.

Charlie, Linda’s husband, told the authorities that he left for work at his usual time of 6:15 a.m. on the day of the murder, leaving Linda with their infant daughter and Joey, who left for school at 7:45 a.m.

At 9:45 a.m., Charlie attempted to call Linda, but she didn’t answer. By noon, he had called three times but received no response.

After leaving work early, he arrived home at 4:05 p.m. and found Linda’s lifeless body. Joey was working on his schoolwork, and Lisa was in her playpen.

Although Charlie’s alibi was confirmed, he was still required to take a polygraph test, which he passed, and provide a DNA sample, which he did.

The police received a tip from a rural mail carrier who claimed to have seen a man leaving the Jensen residence on the day of the murder. 

The driver was described as a scruffy Caucasian man in his late 30s or early 40s driving an older tan truck. A sketch artist drew a picture of the man based on the mail carrier’s description, and it was distributed to the media.

Furthermore, investigators canvassed the neighborhood and found that the Jones family might have seen the vehicle.

Kent Jones, who was a Scoutmaster with four children, was expected to identify the person seen leaving the Jensen house by the mail carrier. 

However, when investigators arrived, Kent was not present. His wife, Deborah Jones, reported that she had seen the pickup truck driving around the area but did not recognize the occupant.

The investigation of Linda’s murder

Following Linda’s murder, the police investigated a long list of suspects, including her ex-boyfriend Robert Beard and ex-husband John Silliman.

Beard had given up custody of their son Joey and wasn’t providing child support, but he had recently attempted to increase visitation before Linda’s death. 

When questioned by the police about his calls to Linda on the day of the murder, he denied ever contacting her, even though he claimed he didn’t have a vehicle and couldn’t go to her on foot.

As for Silliman, Linda’s family had stated that he had been abusive during their marriage and was angry about the court’s decision to require him to pay child support for Joey, whom he had adopted at Linda’s request.

Additionally, Linda was pregnant again before their divorce was finalized. The investigators even checked Silliman’s financial records to see if he had hired someone to harm Linda, but no evidence was found to implicate him.

Despite the efforts of law enforcement, the case remained unsolved, and the investigation was eventually closed in May 1994.

Reopening of the case

Linda’s sister, Sandra Rolling, made weekly calls to the sheriff’s office to inquire about the status of her sister’s case. Her persistence finally paid off in 1999 when a new sheriff reopened the investigation.

Sheriff Anderson ordered a review of all available evidence, including the 80+ DNA samples obtained in 1992 but were unable to be tested, as well as the DNA collected from Linda’s sexual assault kit.

The DNA from Linda’s ex-boyfriends and Charlie’s DNA samples were matched against the known sex offenders in the DNA database.

However, the DNA of the men in Linda’s life did not match any of them, and the case remained unsolved for another year.

A tip was later received about a woman named Angela Pulsony, who had an affair shortly after Linda’s murder and described herself as a “prior of Kent Jones.”

Angela disclosed that when she brought up Linda’s murder, Kent became furious and denied knowing her.

According to Angela, Kent later changed his story and admitted to knowing Linda and that his version of events differed from what he had previously told her.

Police then began looking into the Scoutmaster and family man.

Police discovered that Kent had a dark side despite his devoted Christian and family man facade. His wife, Deborah, had reported domestic violence to the police in the past. 

She had once gone to the ER with a stab wound, claiming that she had slipped near the open dishwasher and landed on a loaded knife with the handle down. Police were suspicious of the circumstances of her injury.

When the police questioned Kent again, he denied knowing Linda. However, he later admitted to having spoken to her and that she used to jog by his house. 

When the police asked him about having an affair with Linda, he reportedly became angry and defensive.

Detectives requested a DNA sample from him, but he declined, making him the first person to do so in eight years.

Investigators obtained Kent’s DNA through a subpoena and matched it with the DNA found in Linda’s s*xual assault kit.

Killer Kent Jones arrested 

Jones was arrested on July 24, 2000, on suspicion of first-degree murder. A grand jury later indicted him on three counts, including first-degree murder, second-degree intentional murder, and first-degree criminal sexual behavior murder.

Jones’ trial began on May 31, 2001, and after being found guilty of all charges on December 8, 2001, he was sentenced to life in prison.

During Jones’ trial, the judge decided not to allow him to accuse Beard or Christy of the crime. 

However, Jones won a retrial on appeal in 2004 based solely on the judge’s denial of his request to present evidence implicating Beard or Christy.

In his second trial in November 2006, Jones claimed that Charlie Jensen or an unidentified man in a pickup truck was responsible for Linda’s murder instead of Beard or Christy. 

Jones also changed his story, claiming that he had sex with Linda on the morning of the murder instead of the day before.

He attempted to have his conviction overturned on appeal but was unsuccessful. He was found guilty again and sentenced to life in prison.

Jones remains incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Prison-Stillwater in Bayport, Minnesota. Charlie Jensen will be eligible for release in 2030, but Jones’ family has vowed to fight to keep him behind bars.

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