The jury in the Jennifer Blagg murder trial saw a series of photos Wednesday morning the prosecution believes will prove law enforcement pursued the possibility that someone other than her husband could have been the killer.
Deputy Scott Ehlers, who’s now retired from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, described how he and other investigator walked the road behind the house but didn’t find any evidence of Jennifer Blagg or her 6-year-old daughter, Abby Blagg.
He also described the road, Greenbelt Drive, as being near an elementary school and a residential subdivision.
“There’s students who walk along that area to go to school,” Ehlers said.
Prosecutors claim Greenbelt Drive got a fair amount of traffic from local residents and children, so it would have been hard for a kidnapping to happen without anyone noticing.
They believe Michael Blagg shot his wife in the middle of the night, wrapped her in a tent, took her body into the garage, loaded it in the family minivan and threw her a dumpster at his work. The defense alleges a child predator broke into the home through the back door while Michael Blagg was at work, killing his wife and potentially his daughter.
Abby Blagg has never been found.
Public defender Scott Troxell asked Ehlers whether he knew investigators from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation photographed scuff marks they found on the backyard fence.
“That’s what I had heard, yes,” Ehlers said.
He said he never heard that CBI saw “disturbed vegetation” behind the fence.
To counter the defense’s theory that someone could have climbed the fence and entered through the back door, Deputy Mesa County District Attorney Mark Hand had the jury listen to a door alarm investigators found hanging on the interior knob of that back door.
“You could hear it as you walked away from it in the front,” Ehlers said when asked about how loud it was inside the Blagg home.
The prosecution also had a landscaper, who was working across the street that day, testify that he never saw or heard anything unusual.
The trouble with the door alarm is that it didn’t work when Ehlers first tested it at the house a few weeks after Jennifer and Abby Blagg disappeared. Ehlers put new batteries in it. The defense argued it’s possible the door alarm wasn’t working Nov. 13, 2001 either.
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One point of contention between the prosecution and the defense that keeps coming up during the second week of testimony is what happened to a 9mm handgun the Blaggs’ appear to have owned.
Ehlers told the jury that neither he nor anyone from the sheriff’s office ever found a 9mm handgun inside the two-story home on Pine Terrace Court. Investigators found three guns inside the house, but an insurance list written by a member of the Blagg family listed four guns — including a 9mm.
The bullet found inside Jennifer Blagg’s head could have been shot by a 9mm.
Troxell pushed back on the validity of the insurance list by suggesting it wasn’t made while the Blaggs were living in the Pine Terrace home.
“There were many items listed on this list that were not found in the Blagg home … ,” Troxell said. “You didn’t find a weight bench either or stair stepper.”
Testimony is scheduled to continue at Jefferson County courthouse Wednesday at 1:15 p.m.