Erik Jensen was seventeen years old when he was sentenced to life in prison in Colorado for helping his friend Nathan Ybanez in the murder of Nathan’s mother. Now Erik Jensen involvement in the murder has never been clear. Erik and Nathan have both said that Jensen arrived after the murder had already taken place and helped clean up the crime scene and dispose of the victim. Prosecutors believed he had more of an active role in the murders. Regardless due to the laws in Colorado at the time Erik Jensen would be sentenced to life in prison.
Recently Jensen prison sentence was changed to no chance of parole to a chance of parole after forty years. Oddly Nathan Ybanez received a shorter sentence after his resentencing which makes him eligible for parole in 2020. However in the last forty eight hours the Governor of Colorado has decided to commute Erik Jensen sentence meaning he can be released from prison by March 2020.
Erik Jensen Other News
Gov. Jared Polis announced pardons for five people and commutations for three others on Monday — including Erik Jensen. Jensen was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1998 death of Julie Ybanez of Highlands Ranch. Jensen said he helped his friend, Nathan Ybanez, clean up the crime scene after Ybanez killed his mother.
Ybanez claimed he was being abused. Jensen said he did not participate in the killing but he was convicted of murder under the state’s complicity theory. Jensen was 17 at the time of the crime and Ybanez was 16.
In 1999, Jensen was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for criminal conspiracy to first degree murder, 24 years for first degree murder and six years for criminal accessory to first degree murder. Then in 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole for juveniles are unconstitutional.
In 2019, Jensen was resentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
“Erik went in when he was a juvenile,” said Curtis Jensen, Erik’s father. “He has served 5 more years in prison than he was alive before he got into prison.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper commuted the sentence of Ybanez, the man who actually committed the murder, but did not commute Jensen’s sentence. Ybanez could be released in 2020.
While in prison, Jensen got his G.E.D. and an associates degree. He also started a CrossFit program for inmates to help combat addiction. He is considered a model prisoner.
“I think that a lot of them, like Erik and the people that he works with in there, should be given a second chance,” said Curtis Jensen. “They should be given a second look.”
The commutation issued by Gov. Polis means Jensen will now be released in a matter of weeks.
“The commutations announced today include immediate parole eligibility and mandatory parole on March 1, 2020,” the governor’s office stated.
“Clemencies are a tremendous responsibility given to a governor that can change a person’s life,” said Gov. Polis. “These decisions were not taken lightly and were made after careful consideration of each individual case. These are people looking for a second chance and the opportunity to move beyond the mistakes from their past. They have taken important steps to turn their lives around and shown remorse for their actions.”
The governor also granted commutations for two other individuals: William Hoover Jr., and Abron Arrington.
Pardons were also granted to Ingrid LaTorre, Eric Edelstein, John Furniss, Brandon Burke, and Jamie Matthews.
“The pardons restore rights and remove limitations that result from criminal convictions.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced commutations for three people and pardons for five on Monday.
The commutations were granted to Erik Jensen, William Hoover Jr., and Abron Arrington.
Jensen was convicted of murder when he was 17 years old and sentenced to life without parole, but in May, he was re-sentenced to have parole eligibility 40 years after the conviction, according to The Denver Post.
Polis commuted his sentence to 25 years. Polis acknowledged Jensen’s actions toward bettering himself, which included earning an associates of arts degree, working as an administrator custodian in the warden’s office at the Limon Correctional Facility for more than seven years, co-founding a faith-based counseling program to help inmates, and founding the Redemption Road CrossFit Addition Recovery Program.
“You are remorseful, and ready to advance to a new phase of life,” Polis’s letter to Jensen read. “I believe you will be successful upon your release… This commutation will change your future. It is up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”
Jensen, along with Hoover and Arrington, now have parole eligibility and mandatory parole on March 1.