It’s been so long and tedious that Judge Tamara Russell joked that it feels like jury selection started “a month ago,” but after three and a half days, the 12 jurors and three alternates who will hear the case against Michael Blagg were seated just before noon on Monday.
Blagg, 55, is charged with first-degree murder after deliberation, use of a weapon in a violent crime (a sentence enhancer), theft of $100 to $500, and abuse of a corpse in the 2001 death of his 34-year-old wife Jennifer Blagg.
He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for his wife’s murder in 2004, but that conviction was thrown out after a juror was caught lying on her questionnaire about being a victim of domestic violence.
The case has since been moved to Jefferson County due to its notoriety on the Western Slope, and jury selection for this second trial began on Wednesday.
The 12 jurors and three alternates are comprised of 10 women and five men. Who the alternates are will not be known until deliberation begins.
Michael Blagg called 911 on Nov. 13, 2001 to report his wife and 6-year-old daughter, Abby, missing. He told Mesa County deputies that he found a gruesome scene in his wife’s bedroom — including a large amount of blood on her sheets and a tipped-over jewelry box.
There was no trace of Abby, whose body hasn’t been found to this day.
Investigators found Jennifer Blagg’s body in the Mesa County landfill on June 4, 2002, after 17 days of searching. She was found among trash from her husband’s employer.
Michael Blagg was arrested two days later and has been in custody ever since. He has maintained his innocence, and once told deputies he was a “born-again Christian” who was an “open book” to investigate.
During jury selection on Monday morning, prosecutors repeatedly questioned would-be jurors about what they think about people who view pornography and if they think this is a character flaw in itself.
More than 1,800 pornographic images were found on Blagg’s computer during the 2001 investigation — a piece of evidence that Russell has ruled can only be used to portray marital trouble between him and his wife rather than as proof that he's capable of committing a crime.
Jurors were also asked by prosecutors if they believe people can put on a different face in public than behind closed doors — particularly when it comes to cases that involve domestic violence.
During Michael Blagg's first trial, prosecutors argued that Jennifer Blagg was abused and considering leaving her husband.
The defense team asked jurors about their experiences with law enforcement, and if they’re more inclined to trust police officers more than other witnesses.
There were no witnesses to Jennifer Blagg's murder itself -- and her husband has never confessed.
Opening statements are slated for Tuesday.
Michael Blagg’s first trial involved 26 days of testimony — and 22 of those were used by the prosecution, which called nearly 100 witnesses.
The defense called fewer than 20 witnesses.
This second trial is on the docket until March 30.
9NEWS will be at the courtroom every day. You can see updates on 9NEWS and 9NEWS.com.