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Old 01-11-2010, 07:08 PM
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Arrow Testimony starts in Blagg bid for new trial

Published January 11, 2010 @ 12:48 pm by Paul Shockley

Gray-bearded and dressed in a red jail jumpsuit, convicted murderer Michael Blagg sat in a Mesa County courtroom this morning for the first time in nearly six years as Chief District Judge David Bottger heard testimony on a motion for a new trial.

Blagg, 46, supported in the courtroom by his sister, Claire, jotted down notes on a legal pad as his public defenders called their first few witnesses in a motions hearing expected to run through Wednesday in Bottger’s courtroom.

Blagg’s defense is seeking a new trial on the basis of claims against a juror during Blagg’s 2004 trial. They’ve alleged Marilyn Charlesworth, of Orchard Mesa, was legally blind at the time and failed to disclose her medical issues during jury selection. Blagg was convicted in April 2004 of murdering his wife, Jennifer, in November 2001. Blagg was not charged in connection with the disappearance of the couple’s daughter, Abby, 6, who is presumed dead.

Deputy Public Defender Brian Connors this morning told the judge that Charlesworth suffers a medical condition in one of her eyes, and has a prosthetic second eye. Connors also told the judge that Charlesworth, at the time of jury selection in 2004, was prescribed anti-anxiety drugs but didn’t disclose the information to attorneys during jury selection when asked specifically about such drugs.

Connors used the testimony to hammer at the same claim; Charlesworth has a history of concealing information about her health to court officials.

“I don’t think she was completely truthful,” Jeremy Brown, Mesa State College’s director of information technologies and communications, testified on Monday.

Brown, who supervised Charlesworth at Mesa State, testfied the college made efforts to accommodate her eyesight problems, which Charlesworth openly shared. In an evaluation completed in January 2004, Brown said Charlesworth’s vision was clearly deteriorating.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle told the judge doctors will testified that Charlesworth has “never been close to legal blindness,” saying Blagg’s basis for a new trial is “much ado about nothing.”

Read more overnight at gjsentinel.com or in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Sentinel.


http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/conte...x.html?p=12607
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:15 PM
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Arrow Blagg back in court

Posted: Jan 11, 2010 1:18 PM CST Updated: Jan 11, 2010 1:18 PM CST

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- A Mesa County judge is now hearing evidence on arguments that a legally blind juror tainted the murder conviction of Michael Blagg.



Blagg is serving a life sentence in the 2001 death of his wife, Jennifer. Their daughter, Abby, is missing and presumed dead.

Blagg's former lawyers filed a motion in 2005 seeking a new trial.

The motion suggested a juror's impaired vision affected her ability to do her job. The motion said the juror failed to disclose her condition during jury selection.

Blagg is now represented by public defender Brian Connors. The hearing is expected to last 3 days.


http://www.kjct8.com/Global/story.asp?S=11802594
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:36 PM
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Arrow Disputed Blagg juror not legally blind, eye doctor testifies in motions hearing

By PAUL SHOCKLEY/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Monday, January 11, 2010

A woman at the center of a fight over a possible retrial of convicted murderer Michael Blagg is not legally blind, a doctor testified Monday.

Dr. Allen Grey, an ophthalmologist now caring for former Blagg juror Marilyn Charlesworth, testified he wouldn’t expect radical improvement in her vision from the time Blagg went to trial in March 2004 to when Grey examined her in April 2008.

Charlesworth has a prosthetic left eye and a degenerative, hereditary condition in her right eye that restricts her peripheral vision, according to the doctor’s testimony.

“Could she have less peripheral vision in 2003 than she had in 2008?” Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle asked the doctor.

“No,” Grey responded.

The doctor said he agreed with a prosecution assessment that Charlesworth’s vision “isn’t even close” to meeting accepted standards for legal blindness.

Grey’s testimony stands in contrast to another local optometrist, also expected to testify, who concluded in 2003 that Charlesworth was legally blind.

On cross-examination, Grey said he didn’t personally examine Charlesworth around the time of Blagg’s trial and had no knowledge of Charlesworth failing a driver’s vision test administered around the same time by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles.

Gray-bearded and dressed in a red jail jumpsuit, Blagg sat in a Mesa County courtroom Monday for the first time in nearly six years as Chief District Judge David Bottger heard testimony on a motion for a new trial.

Blagg, 46, supported in the courtroom by his sister, Claire, jotted down notes on a legal pad as his public defenders called their first few witnesses in a motions hearing expected to run through Wednesday.

Blagg’s public defenders alleged in a 2005 motion that Charlesworth failed to disclose her vision problems during jury selection. According to the motion, Charlesworth told other jurors she was legally blind, and that Blagg’s attorneys obtained a journal she kept during the trial.

“I can’t see past the defendant,” she wrote in one section, adding she eventually changed seats in the jury box to accommodate her vision problems.

“She couldn’t see a lot of the stuff they presented, like the pictures, and stuff that were shown ... she couldn’t see those unless they were right in front of her,” one juror told attorneys, according to the motion.

Blagg was convicted in April 2004 of murdering his wife, Jennifer, in November 2001. He was not charged in connection with the disappearance of the couple’s daughter, Abby, 6, who is presumed dead. Blagg is serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Deputy Public Defender Brian Connors on Monday told the judge that Charlesworth was prescribed anti-anxiety drugs, but didn’t disclose the information to attorneys during jury selection when asked specifically about such drugs. Connors said it suggests Charlesworth has a history of concealing information about her health to court officials.

Jeremy Brown, Mesa State College’s director of information technologies and communications, testified he believed Charlesworth at times “wasn’t completely truthful” in her dealings with him.

Brown, who supervised Charlesworth at Mesa State, testified that the college made efforts to accommodate her eyesight problems, which Charlesworth openly shared. She worked five years at the college before resigning in 2004.

Charlesworth’s vision was at the heart of a worker’s compensation claim she lodged against Mesa State College, as well as a separate legal action against the college filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Julie Weinke, a former specialist at Community Hospital who completed an ergonomics evaluation of Charlesworth’s former work space at the college in 2003, testified she was surprised at how well Charlesworth could see.

“She was able to carry out her life very well,” Weinke said.

http://www.gjsentinel.com/hp/content...ing_day_1.html
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:53 PM
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Arrow Lawyer, Blagg juror spar in testimony

By PAUL SHOCKLEY/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A former juror at issue in Michael Blagg’s bid for a new trial testified that she wasn’t limited by impaired vision during Blagg’s March 2004 trial, despite writings she made in a journal over that same period.

Marilyn Charlesworth, of Orchard Mesa, took the witness stand Tuesday for direct examination from Blagg attorney Tina Fang, and their exchanges soon turned testy.

In a personal journal obtained by Blagg’s defense, Charlesworth wrote, “I can’t see jack.” Charlesworth and Fang sparred over the meaning of “jack.”

When interviewed by an investigator with the District Attorney’s office in 2005, Charlesworth said the entry referred to her inability to locate a friend who she thought may be in the courtroom, a doctor named “Jack.”

“OK, we’ll go with that’s not true,” Charlesworth testified Tuesday.

Fang at one point was admonished Wednesday by Chief District Judge David Bottger to remain “civil” in her questioning of Charlesworth.

Charlesworth testified her vision during Blagg’s trial was, at best, 20/40, meaning she was able to see at 20 feet what a person with corrected vision could see 40 feet away.

She acknowledged failing a vision examination in December 2003, when applying for a Colorado driver’s license.

“I think I did, but they gave me a license anyway,” Charlesworth testified, later adding she rode a motor scooter around town at the time.

Shirley Kreutzer, a bailiff during Blagg’s trial, testified that Charlesworth approached her shortly after opening statements, asking she be allowed to move to the front row in the jury box so she could see better. Once she was moved, Kreutzer testified Charlesworth made no other requests.

Charlesworth said she had no problem seeing witnesses or evidence after she switched seats. She said she enjoys an independent, active lifestyle including scuba diving and hiking.

“I worked with people at Mesa State College for 14 years who didn’t know anything (about vision problems), until all this broke,” Charlesworth said.

Blagg, 46, was convicted of murdering his wife, Jennifer, on April 16, 2004, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Blagg’s attorneys have argued Charlesworth’s failure to disclose her problems during jury selection, while remaining silent when asked by attorneys at the same time if she used anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants, represents juror misconduct and justifies a new trial for Blagg.

David Eisner, an attorney who represented Blagg in 2004, testified that he likely would have moved to kick Charlesworth off Blagg’s jury had she disclosed her full health issues.

“If the DA didn’t, I would have,” he said.

http://www.gjsentinel.com/hp/content...g_hearing.html
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:58 PM
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Arrow Blagg juror didn't struggle to see, fellow panel member testifies

By PAUL SHOCKLEY/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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.

http://www.gjsentinel.com/hp/content...lagg_folo.html
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:41 AM
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What happened?? I have searched the net and can't find out if he won this appeal? I presume not? The links used here don't work any more.
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