Judge delays setting in Blagg retrial bid
A Mesa County judge this morning delayed setting a hearing for a renewed motion for a new trial for convicted killer Michael Blagg.
Attorneys on both sides today indicated they needed more time to identify potential witnesses. Chief Mesa County Judge David Bottger set the case to return Oct. 29, when a hearing may finally be scheduled.
Blagg, 50, 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. Their daughter, Abby, 6, was reported missing and is presumed dead. No charges were filed in connection with her disappearance. A jury in April 2004 convicted Blagg of first-degree murder after deliberation and several lesser counts.
The Daily Sentinel first reported in August on a renewed motion for a new trial filed by Blagg’s attorneys. The motion argues a new trial is justified because a juror, Grand Junction resident Marilyn Charlesworth, committed perjury during jury selection when she indicated she had never been a victim of domestic violence. Charlesworth, among critics of former Grand Junction City Councilor Rick Brainard, testified during a public hearing of the council in April she was a, “victim of domestic violence for 10 years.”
In an interview with the Sentinel, Charlesworth adamantly denied lying in 2004 or this past April, saying she didn’t consider herself a victim in 2004 and answered a juror questionnaire honestly. She said she was in emotionally abusive relationships, which ended in divorce, but she, “did not feel like a victim at that time.”
Bottger in 2010 denied an unrelated bid for a new trial in Blagg’s case also involving Charlesworth after attorneys questioned her vision limitations and ability to evaluate evidence.
The judge at the time said Blagg’s attorneys must prove Blagg suffered “actual bias” or “prejudice” that deprived him of a fair trial.