By Rick Sallinger

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Jury selection begins in the re-trial of Michael Blagg whose wife was murdered and daughter disappeared 16 years ago.

Blagg, of Grand Junction, was convicted for his wife’s murder in 2004, but that was overturned.

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Blagg family (credit: CBS)

CBS4 has learned a Montana man, Phillip Bruinsma who is now in prison, is the person the Blagg’s defense suggested may have committed the murder of Jennifer Blagg and the apparent kidnapping of 6-year-old Abby Blagg.

But the jury in the re-trial will not be allowed to hear that theory after the judge disallowed it.

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Courtroom in Jefferson County (credit: CBS)

Family members of Blagg were in court as they prepared to go through a replay of the trial of Blagg.

The jury may hear the 911 calls made by Blagg on Nov. 13, 2001.

“I just got home from work, and there’s blood all over the bed. My family is gone. My wife and daughter aren’t here,” he told the operator on the other end.

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Jennifer and Abby Blagg (credit: CBS)

Blagg has adamantly denied killing his wife or being involved in the disappearance of their daughter.

“It bothers me I am still considered a suspect,” he said early on in the investigation.

The next year Jennifer’s body was found in a landfill.

Blagg was arrested and put on trial.

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Michael Blagg (credit: CBS)

He was sentenced to life in prison.

But later, a new trial was ordered after juror misconduct was discovered. The trial was moved from Mesa County to Jefferson Count due to publicity in the case.

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(credit: CBS)

For this trial, the defense tried to introduce an alternate suspect: Phillip Bruinsma who is serving 100 years in Montana for the rapes of children.

In emails, he had claimed he had killed 12 children.

A sticky note found in his home indicated the names of eight young missing girls including Abby Blagg.

But the judge found there were not enough similarities to allow it in the Blagg case. And so this trial will be rewound and played again for a jury.

Jury selection is expected to take the rest of the week with opening statements to take place early next week.

TIMELINE: Michael Blagg Murder Trials

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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