Court upholds Blagg murder conviction
Grand Junction correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER “A panel of judges with the Colorado Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of Michael Blagg in a high-profile Grand Junction, Colo. murder case.
In a 35-page ruling released Thursday, Court of Appeals Judge Diana Terry rejected a main claim of Blagg’s appellate lawyers: That prosecutors misused pornography evidence to portray Blagg as “wicked and perverted.”
” … irrespective of the pornography evidence, the People presented substantial evidence linking Defendant to the victim’s death, from which a juror could reasonably have concluded that he murdered her,” Judge Terry wrote for the court.
“In relation to the approximately six-week length of the trial, the testimony and arguments about Defendant’s interest in pornography were of brief duration,” the court wrote.
The opinion continued, ” …Indeed, no reasonable jury would infer that a mere interest in pornography would demonstrate a propensity to commit murder.”
Appeals Court Judges Daniel Taubman and Arthur Roy concurred with Terry’s ruling. The three judges heard oral arguments in Blagg’s appeal on Oct. 2 in Denver.
Blagg, 44, was convicted April 16, 2004, of murdering his wife, Jennifer Blagg, in the couple’s Redlands home on the outskirts of Grand Junction in November 2001. Their daughter, Abby, 6, was never found and is presumed dead.
Blagg is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Jason Middleton, a state public defender who argued on Blagg’s behalf before the Court of Appeals, said Chief District Judge David Bottger erred in allowing “a large amount” of pornography evidence to go before the jury.
The porn evidence, coupled with the prosecution’s “unsupported and inflammatory allegations that (Blagg) inflicted sexual abuse upon Jennifer Blagg,” helped sway the jury, Middleton said.
But Paul Koehler, a prosecutor with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, noted Blagg’s attorneys didn’t object during the trial.
“Now we’re just involved in guessing about the prejudicial effect (on jury),” Koehler said.
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