Blagg’s attorneys ask judge for more testimony in appeal

Attorneys pushing for a new trial for convicted murderer Michael Blagg have asked a judge to allow more testimony from a former senior official at Mesa State College.

Larry Cackler, now a comptroller at the University of San Francisco, would testify to observations and his experiences with a former juror, Marilyn Charlesworth, attorneys for Blagg wrote in a motion.

Charlesworth’s eyesight, and her alleged failure to disclose her vision problems during jury selection, is at issue in Blagg’s latest appeal seeking a new trial.

Mesa State spokeswoman Dana Nunn said Cackler worked for the college between 1993 and 2005, last employed as controller. Cackler would testify he worked with Charlesworth during Blagg’s trial in 2004.

“I was dumbfounded when I found out that she did not reveal that she was sight-challenged,” Cackler told defense attorneys, according to the defense motion.

Among other items, Cackler would testify to a purported conversation he had with Charlesworth, which happened roughly a week before Blagg’s jury returned guilty verdicts.

“Ms. Charlesworth told Mr. Cackler, ‘that snake is guilty as hell,’ ” the defense motion reads.

Chief Judge David Bottger has yet to rule on whether Cackler’s testimony will be heard.

According to the motion, Cackler contacted Blagg’s attorneys and reported his observations in January after Cackler read The Daily Sentinel’s coverage of Blagg’s motions hearing on Jan. 12.

The District Attorney’s Office has lodged objections to another testimonial hearing.

Bottger heard testimony over three days in January in Blagg’s bid for a new trial. The judge asked attorneys to file written closing arguments by March 1.

During January’s hearing, Charlesworth testified she had no trouble seeing items of evidence when she moved from the back row to the front of the jury box after opening statements.

An ophthalmologist testified that Charlesworth, when examined in 2008, didn’t meet accepted standards for legal blindness, despite being diagnosed with the condition by another doctor in the early 1990s.

Blagg, 46, has been serving a term of life in prison without parole since a Mesa County jury in April 2004 convicted him of murdering his wife, Jennifer, in 2001.


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