Dark Side Of The Mesa
Michael's sister, Claire Rochester, arrived in Grand Junction just as the final jury members were being chosen. She wondered if a fair trial would be possible for her brother.
"The people in this town need to understand that all of this time and this money and this energy that the police and the D.A. have devoted towards accusing my brother has been wasted," Rochester said. "I think it should frighten the public that there is somebody out there that committed this crime."
But David Eisner, Michael's lead attorney, said the cops never considered that. "They chose Michael Blagg as their No. 1 suspect, and they latched onto him and never let him go," he said.
Eisner said this resulted in untrue allegations that undermined Michael's character in the community. Among these allegations was one that Michael was looking at hardcore Internet pornography the night before he reported Jennifer missing.
Another allegation, which was widely reported in the local media, claimed that Michael had visited an escort service for sex. There were also leaks of Jennifer seeking advice on divorce from the local legal aid office.
"It's a question of putting together all the pieces," said District Attorney Frank Daniels, who would prosecute the case.
Michael was free on bail until trial. He started each morning with church, and then went to his lawyers' office to help prepare his own case.
Otherwise, Blagg and his visiting family rarely went out.
There were too many stares, and they had few friends in this town. "He did not kill his wife," says Rochester. "He did not do anything to harm or take his daughter. It did not happen."
As the murder trial of Michael Blagg began, the families of Michael and Jennifer, once very close, found themselves on opposite sides of the courtroom.
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