Three-day hearing for Blagg new trial bid

Convicted killer Michael Blagg

Attorneys over three days next May will present testimony and argument on whether convicted killer Michael Blagg will be awarded a new trial.

A motions hearing was scheduled this morning to run May 19 to May 21 before Chief Judge David Bottger. Blagg, now 50, is expected to be brought back to Mesa County from the Colorado Department of Corrections for the hearing.

Blagg 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 public defenders, who argue a new trial is justified because a juror allegedly lied during jury selection when she indicated she had never been a victim of domestic violence. The juror, Marilyn Charlesworth, was among critics of former Grand Junction City Councilor Rick Brainard and she testified during a public hearing of the City Council this past April she was a, “victim of domestic violence for 10 years.”
In an interview with the Sentinel, she 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.

Bottger in 2010 denied an unrelated bid for a new trial in Blagg’s case also involving the same juror after Blagg’s 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.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel.


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