The daughter of a convicted Pasco murderer was in a Franklin County court last week asking a judge to let her contact her father.
Amber Jensen, who was 8 when her father fatally shot her mother more than 11 years ago, requested a no-contact order be dropped so she could have a relationship with James Jensen.
"I do not feel that my father is a danger or threat to me," the 19-year-old wrote in her motion. "I have found forgiveness for my father and feel that I need and want the right to have a relationship with him again."
James Jensen, 43, is serving a 31-year prison sentence for killing his wife, Tara Jensen, on Sept. 16, 2000.
The couple were in the process of divorcing and after a night of arguing, Tara kicked her husband out of her Pasco home. He broke in through a window and the 32-year-old was gunned down after she ran to a neighbor's for help.
Their two children and Tara's mother were hiding in a bedroom closet.
James Jensen pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. When he was sentenced Jan. 4, 2001, orders were created to prevent him from having contact with his children.
Amber Jensen told Superior Court Judge Craig Matheson she has gone through extensive counseling and has had time to cope with the consequences and forgive her father.
She said she has wanted the no-contact order dropped since she was 15 or 16.
"I would like to completely terminate the no-contact order ... in order to see him and face him and get an apology and ask my questions that nobody else would be able to answer," Jensen said. "I've heard he's a changed man and he is remorseful for what he's done."
Amber Jensen said not being able to talk to her father has left a hole in her heart and she needs to be able to see him.
"When I was 8 years old, I didn't just lose my mother. I lost my father too," she said. "I understand everything that happened. I understand my father's crimes."
Jensen said she is a mother now and better equipped to understand parent-child relationships. She said she has talked with family on her mother and father's side, and had a letter from her mother's family saying they support her attempts to see her father.
"I'm not saying I'm going to leave here today with this (no-contact order) removed and I'm going to have a great relationship with my father," she said.
But, Jensen said, it's something she needs to continue healing.
She also said there is no way her father would be a threat to her because he still has 20 years left to serve, and the only contact she can have with him is in a secure and supervised situation.
James Jensen is at the Monroe Corrections Center.
Deputy Prosecutor Dave Corkrum opposed the request and gave a brief, but detailed, synopsis of the murder.
He explained that James Jensen broke a window and entered the home armed with a 9 mm pistol. He chased Tara Jensen and killed her on the front porch of a neighbor's home.
"The neighbor was aroused by screams of the victim," Corkrum said, adding that the neighbor was almost shot when he opened the door as James Jensen fired repeatedly at Tara Jensen.
Judge Matheson agreed to drop the no-contact order, but made it clear it was for Amber Jensen's benefit -- not her father's.
"She feels it's necessary to continue the progress and healing," he said.
He then told Amber, "I want to warn you. This could be a two-edged sword. It could be more hurtful than helpful."
There was no discussion or reference in court to Amber's older half-sister, who is not related to James Jensen.