Jennifer Marie Folsom, the wife of a man killed on Haycamp Mesa in January 2018, was sentenced Thursday to one year of supervised probation for felony possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
Her cousin, Kevin Wade Folsom, was convicted for the second-degree murder of James Lloyd Box Jr. and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Prosecutors had suspected that before Kevin Folsom fatally shot Box, Jennifer Folsom, 32, also known as Jennifer Box, had shot her husband after an argument during a New Year’s party on Haycamp Mesa in which the three consumed meth, according to court records.
After a grand jury indictment, Jennifer Folsom was charged by then-District Attorney Will Furse with suspicion of attempted second-degree murder, but the charge was later dropped.
Furse, who is now assistant district attorney, said in earlier court proceedings that he decided not pursue the attempted second-degree murder charge because of doubt about Jennifer Folsom’s guilt, lack of evidence and results of her polygraph test. Her polygraph results were not released.
The attempted-murder charges were dropped in a plea deal in which Jennifer Folsom pleaded guilty to felony possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
During an emotional sentencing hearing Thursday, members of the Box family testified about their loss and the case.
Box’s father, Edward Burch Box Jr., spoke about the importance of married couples to protect and care for each other, and said he believes that commitment failed the night his son was killed.
“In terms of Jennifer’s marriage to my son, I did not see that love and compassion,” he said. “Where was that when my son left this Earth, where was that love and compassion to a marriage partner? In my mind, that is devastating. It is devastating to me and my wife, and the rest of the children lost a brother.”
The family “feels an emptiness of the heart because of this,” Edward Box said.
Betty Box said before her son was murdered, he had been talking about reconnecting with family and wanted to enter a rehabilitation center for substance abuse.
“I will miss my son, he is with the Creator,” she said.
His sister, Cheyenne Box, said her brother “was a beautiful soul. His life was taken away too soon, and he deserves justice.”
During the sentencing hearing, Jennifer Folsom also spoke. She said after her husband’s death, “it took me two years to pull myself out of my addiction. Every day is a fight, and every day I think about James, and the last is almost too much to bear. I am sorry for our loss.”
Senior District Judge Doug Walker said when the plea deal was presented to court, “I had significant reservations about it, because it moved from such serious charges to barely a felony.”
Walker said “he takes Mr. Furse at his word” that he could not prove the earlier attempted second-degree murder charge, which was dropped. Walker accepted the plea deal, and issued the one-year probation sentence based on the guilty plea to possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
The plea deal sentencing recommendation was initially six months of probation, but was increased to one year of probation on the agreement of defense and prosecution.
Terms of probation are that Folsom obtain mental health and substance abuse evaluations, and comply with the recommendations. Use of nonprescription drugs or alcohol is also prohibited during probation, and Folsom will subjected to random testing.
According to an obituary in The Durango Herald, James Lloyd Box Jr., 42, grew up on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and has two children. His Native American name is Buffalo Horse. His father recounted how his son enjoyed participating in Native American ceremonies and sang traditional spiritual songs. He embraced the traditional ways, including participating in sweat lodge ceremonies.