Blagg denied new trial
Mesa County’s chief judge on Tuesday denied a motion for a new trial for convicted murderer Michael Blagg, saying Blagg’s attorneys failed to show how a juror’s acknowledged vision problems deprived him of a fair trial.
Moreover, while Chief Judge David Bottger found there was misconduct during Blagg’s trial by juror Marilyn Charlesworth, her “lack of candor” on her use of anti-anxiety medication doesn’t justify another trial.
Public Defenders Brian Connors and Tina Fang largely focused on Charlesworth’s vision limitations in pushing for a new trial, which was the subject of a three-day hearing in January.
“It is clear,” Bottger wrote in his ruling Tuesday, “that (Charlesworth) did not believe her vision limitations would interfere with her ability to render a fair verdict based on the evidence. Even if this belief was mistaken, she held it in good faith. ”
The judge said the burden was on Blagg’s attorneys to show “actual bias” or “prejudice.”
“He has not,” Bottger concluded.
Blagg, 46, is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the November 2001 murder of his wife, Jennifer, at the family’s Redlands home. After hearing 23 days of testimony, a Mesa County jury convicted Blagg of first-degree murder, and several lesser counts, in 2004.
Read more in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel.