For more than a decade, it has been in a black plastic bag among other evidence kept by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office from a murder investigation that appeared to be more or less closed.
And on the second day of Michael Blagg’s second murder trial for the 2001 death of his wife Jennifer Blagg, a jury of five men and 10 women saw the very spot where the 34-year-old mother of his 6-year-old daughter was shot in the head while she was sleeping.
Deputy Mesa County District Attorney Mark Hand held up a segment of Jennifer and Michael Blagg’s mattress to the jury on Tuesday morning. Though the blood has dried and faded over time, the stain took up much of the mattress, which was cut up by investigators as they processed the crime scene in mid-November 2001.
This was part of the testimony from Paulette Campbell, an evidence technician with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office who helped detectives and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation bag up evidence from the Blagg’s two-story home in a quiet subdivision just across the Colorado River from Grand Junction.
Michael Blagg reported his wife and daughter, Abby, missing on 4:21 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2001. He says he came home from work to find the backdoor open, items thrown on the floor of the house’s master bedroom and a massive amount of blood on the bed.
His wife and daughter were gone.
Jennifer Blagg’s body was found in the Mesa County landfill on June 4, 2002 after more than two weeks of searching. To this day, there has been no trace of Abby Blagg.
She is still listed as a missing person on the CBI website.
A Mesa County jury found Michael Blagg guilty of first-degree murder for Jennifer Blagg’s death in 2004, but that conviction was thrown out about a juror was caught lying on her questionnaire about being a victim of domestic violence.
And that’s how more than 17 years after Jennifer and Abby Blagg were first reported missing, many of the same people who testified about the case in 2004 found themselves on the witness stand again.
RELATED: Five stories of Nov. 13, 2001
And the bloodstained mattress was once again taken out of an evidence locker and shown to a jury hundreds of miles away from the scene of the original crime — a new location that was chosen based on case’s notoriety in Mesa County.
Michael Blagg’s public defenders argued during opening statements that he is innocent, that Jennifer and Abby Blagg were the victims of a child predator, and that from the very beginning, the investigators who were supposed to be seeking justice were biased by the notion that it’s “always the husband.”
Public Defender Scott Troxell also argued that the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and CBI bungled parts of the investigation by compromising evidence and ignoring leads that didn’t directly point to Michael Blagg’s guilt.
Former Mesa County Deputy Glade Johnson was on the stand Monday afternoon. He was cross-examined for more than an hour on Tuesday morning.
Johnson was the one who took an hour-long video of the crime scene just before midnight on Nov. 13, 2001. This was played to the jury in full the day before, but Troxell wanted to point out what he believed was proof of inconsistencies and flaws in how this portion of the investigation was conducted.
Troxell asked Johnson to explain why he chose to move on a sock from the top of an answering machine that was less than two-feet from the bloodstained mattress.
He also focused on a puddle of water seen in the entryway near the end of the video — something that may not have been there before Johnson and another deputy did a walkthrough of the home.
Johnson also interviewed an 11-year-old girl who Troxell says told investigators she received an anonymous phone call from someone who claimed to have been kidnapped. She and her mother are expected to be called to the stand later on in the trial, but Troxell repeatedly asked Johnson about their exchange.
Johnson initially said that he didn’t make the young girl cry, but Troxell later showed him his report from that interview that indicated he did. Johnson was asking the girl about inconsistencies with her report to police.
Campbell took the stand after Johnson.
The prosecution used her testimony to show the jury multiple pieces of evidence taken from the house in the days after Nov. 13, 2001.
This was the first time Campbell, who usually usually worked out of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, had been called to an actual crime scene.
She was there on Nov. 14 and 15, 2001 and took directions from investigators about what to bag up.
Among the items was a 22-caliber handgun found in the closet of the master bedroom and a note taped to the bathroom mirror.
The note was an “urgent prayer request” written by Jennifer Blagg asking that Jesus give her the “keys to peace.”
Campbell was also assigned to read the books taken from the Blagg home. One of those was called “Loving God With All My Mind.”
The jury was shown page 55 over that book, part of a chapter called “Winning Over Worry.”
Underneath the text was a footnote from Jennifer Blagg.
“Fought with Mike on Friday,” she wrote. “I unexpectedly got sick this weekend … but staying home from church blessed me with Stanley’s ‘Key to Peace’ sermon.”
Prosecutors say the Sunday before she was murdered, Jennifer Blagg watched a televised sermon from Dr. Charles Stanley called “Why We Lose Our Peace.”
9NEWS is in the courtroom for Michael Blagg’s second trial and will post updates to 9NEWS and 9NEWS.com during breaks.