Blagg juror didn’t struggle to see, fellow panel member testifies

A ruling on whether convicted murderer Michael Blagg will get a new trial isn’t expected until March.

Chief District Judge David Bottger on Wednesday ordered both sides in Blagg’s latest legal effort to file closing arguments, in writing, by March 1. Each side will have another 12 days to respond to the other’s filing. Either side unhappy with Bottger’s decision could take the matter before the Colorado Court of Appeals.

The judge laid out the time frames after hearing a third day of testimony.

Mary Gonzales, a juror who served alongside Marilyn Charlesworth, the woman who is at the heart of Blagg’s motion for a new trial, testified Wednesday that Charlesworth, now 50, showed no signs of struggling to see items of evidence during Blagg’s trial in 2004.

Moreover, Charlesworth read aloud juror instructions to her former colleagues at the start of deliberations, Gonzales said. She testified that during a lunch break in the trial, Charlesworth revealed her disability by removing her prosthetic, right eye.

On cross examination by Blagg’s attorneys, Gonzales said Charlesworth never talked about being diagnosed as being legally blind as far back as 1993 or 1994, nor that she claimed deductions for legal blindness on her federal income tax returns in 2003 and 2004.

Charlesworth’s ophthalmologist testified earlier this week that Charlesworth didn’t meet accepted standards for legal blindness when examined in 2008.

Blagg’s attorneys argue that Charlesworth’s failure to disclose her medical condition during jury selection, and her silence at the same time when attorneys asked about the jury pool’s experience with anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants, justifies a new a trial for Blagg.

Blagg, 46, is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the November 2001 murder of his wife, Jennifer.


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