Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Donald Blom: A Repeat Sex Offender Finally Stopped

Blom's Defense

Rodney Brodin, the lead defense attorney, called his first witness on August 7. Amy Blom took the stand to testify that her husband had been at home on the night that Katie had disappeared. She smiled at Blom when she entered and he smiled back. On the stand, she claimed she was able to recall where her husband had been that day because the following day she had seen a broadcast about the girl's disappearance. She gave it some attention because the location of her disappearance was not far from the vacation property they owned at Moose Lake, 110 miles from their home. Since Blom had a criminal record, she had figured he would be a suspect, so she considered precisely where he had been the evening before.

He had come home at 9:30 p.m. and they had gone to bed. When she had woken up in the morning, the coffee had been ready, so it had seemed to her that he'd been there the entire night. She could not say for certain, but she had no recollection of him getting up and leaving.

She also testified that the police had bullied her with threats that they would take her children away if she did not answer questions in the way they wanted. "They called me a liar," she said. She also denied that she had ever seen a baseball jersey in the clothing her brother-in-law had given them and said she'd never seen her husband wear one. As she spoke, Blom shed a few tears, noticeably wiping his eyes.

The lead defense attorney told jurors that while one witness had identified Blom in a line-up, five others had not. Then he had his own odontologist counter the testimony of the prosecution's experts regarding the tooth. As for Blom's confession, the attorney called it a "stupid" mistake. He claimed that another man had confessed as well, but had not been arrested.

On August 10, Blom took the stand in his own defense. Under oath, he denied he had kidnapped Katie Poirier and refused to let the prosecutor lead him into talking about the details again. He was on the witness stand for over three hours, alternately talking and crying. He claimed that his life had been falling apart and he had been feeling sick at the time he confessed. He added that his wife had threatened to commit suicide because of the pressure from the media, so he'd decided to do anything he could to be free of the cell in which he was imprisoned. He spent quite a bit of time trying to get the jury to feel sorry for him, as if he were the victim.

He agreed he had made a confession but said he had also recanted it. He had not been at Moose Lake on the night of the murder, he now claimed, but rather had been at home asleep with his wife, just as she had testified. Although he'd been fishing there earlier in the evening, he was home by 10:00 p.m., well before Katie had been taken from the store.

Pertler cross-examined him about his reasons for making the lengthy and detailed confession. He led him through the details, but Blom gave only abbreviated yes or no responses. Finally Blom told him he was getting "upset" with her queries. Pertler also asked him about his past criminal record and asked about the jersey. Blom claimed he had lied about it during his bogus confession and that people who claimed to have seen him wear it were mistaken. He now claimed he had never seen it before.

In short, Blom was forced to admit to lies and inconsistencies in his statements to police early in the investigation, so taking the stand had done him little good. He came off to many as a whiner trying to wriggle out of punishment yet again. When the questioning was finished, Blom seemed frustrated. He turned to the judge, swore, and asked if he was allowed to make just one statement. He was told he was not. After closing statements, the case went to the jury.

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