By Raetta Holdman
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The following are the key dates in the Michael Blagg murder trials.
November 13: Michael Blagg reported his wife, Jennifer, 34, and their six year old daughter Abby were missing from their home in Grand Junction. He told police he came home to an empty house and found a pool of blood in the master bedroom.
Police say based on the amount of blood, they believe someone was killed but Michael Blagg makes a plea for the return of his family. Police also say they do not consider him a suspect but did not rule him out. Police search the Colorado River and its banks.
Michael Blagg with Jennifer and Abby (credit: CBS)
In December, police say the blood belonged to Jennifer. Michael Blagg says he is bothered to still be considered a suspect. The family puts up a $3,000 reward.
In April, volunteers launch another search for Jennifer and Abby Blagg. They search an area with a 45 mile radius for 11 days without finding any clues. Nearly 200 people volunteered each day of the search.
In May, investigators begin searching the Mesa County Landfill for the bodies of Jennifer and Abby Blagg. Two days after the search begins, Michael Blagg leaves Colorado without telling police where he is going.
In June, crews find Jennifer Blagg’s body in the landfill in an area near trash that came from the company where Michael Blagg worked. There was no sign of Abby but investigators say she is presumed dead. The autopsy reveals Jennifer was shot in the head.
Hours after using dental records to identify the body as Jennifer, police in Georgia arrest Michael Blagg, where he is living with his mother. Police reveal they followed him when he left Grand Junction in May.
Prosecutors charge Michael Blagg with first degree murder. The arrest affidavit says Jennifer was abused and sought help in ending her marriage, just days before she disappeared. It also says Michael Blagg frequently used an escort service and viewed more than 13,000 pornographic images on his computer.
Teams continue the search for Abby in the landfill for almost seven weeks, sifting through 7,000 tons of trash without finding her.
In August, detectives ask for an anonymous woman who has talked to the Mesa County Sheriff’s office to contact them again. She has reported a vehicle on Little Park Road.
In November, prosecutors decide against seeking the death penalty, saying they would only do so if the body of Abby is found.
In December, a judge rules there is enough evidence for Michael Blagg on stand trial for the murder of Jennifer and Abby. The judge reduces his bond from $1 million to $500,00 and says he can live with his mother in Georgia awaiting trial if he posts it. Defense attorneys argue there is no evidence linking Michael Blagg to his wife’s murder.
In January, Michael Blagg posts bail and returns to his mother’s home in Georgia. The judge sets a trial date in October.
In March, attorneys for Michael Blagg outline a new theory. They file a motion that says the Blaggs lived next door to a woman who also had a child and was being stalked. They posit that stalker meant to kill the neighbor but confused the houses and mistakenly killed Jennifer.
In May, the judge refuses to move the trial out of Grand Junction despite his attorneys arguing he cannot get a fair trial.
In June, the defense asks for delay saying they didn’t have enough time to test evidence.
In October, Michael Blagg is set for trial for first degree murder in Mesa County. That trial was delayed for several months
In March, the trial gets underway for Michael Blagg. He faces four charges: first degree murder, two counts of theft and abuse of a corpse. Prosecutors argue he killed his wife because she wanted to leave the marriage, then staged the crime scene.
Blagg in April 9, 2004, at the Mesa County Justice Center in Grand Junction. (credit: Lyn Alweis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
In April, his attorneys argue there is no weapon and no motive. The defense says Blagg is being prosecuted because police could not find the killer, whom they say was an intruder who broke into the home. Blagg does not testify.
The jury deliberates 12 hours before convicting Michael Blagg on four counts in the death of his wife, Jennifer. Those counts are first degree murder, two counts of theft and abuse of a corpse. The judge sentences him to life in prison without parole.
Abby is still missing and presumed dead.
In June, the automatic appeal of Blagg’s first degree murder conviction begins.
2005 – 2013
Michael Blagg’s attorneys file a number of appeals and requests for a new trial. One argument for a new trial deals with a juror who was legally blind. Defense attorneys argued she could not see exhibits. Another argument is that Blagg was convicted on insufficient evidence. All appeals are turned down.
In April, a juror in the original Blagg trial, Marilyn Charlesworth, testified about domestic violence before the Grand Junction City Council, making it clear she was a victim of domestic violence, something she did not reveal on her jury questionnaire. This prompted another request for a new trial.
In June, a judge throws out Michael Blagg’s murder conviction because when a judge determines a juror lied about being a victim of domestic violence on her questionnaire.
In September, the Colorado Supreme Court grants an emergency stay from prosecutors that keeps Blagg in prison while awaiting his new trial.
In November, the new trial for Michael Blagg is moved from Mesa County to Jefferson County.
In August, Michael Blagg again pleads not guilty to the murder of his wife Jennifer Blagg in 2001. In pre-trial hearings, the defense says a sex offender from Canada targeted Jennifer Blagg and the couple’s daughter Abby.
In September, a judge rules Blagg’s attorneys cannot introduce the alternate suspect theory.
In February, jury selection begins in the retrial of Michael Blagg in the murder of his wife Jennifer. The couple’s six year old daughter, Abby, remains missing and presumed dead.
Michael Blagg in Jefferson County Court on April 5, 2018. (credit: CBS)
On April 5, 2018, a jury finds Blagg guilty on all four counts he is facing.