Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Donald Blom: A Repeat Sex Offender Finally Stopped

The Verdict and a Surprise

After ten hours of deliberations, three of which were spent listening to the confession tapes again, the jury found Blom guilty. All in all, detectives had followed 3,500 leads and spent over $200,000 on the case before its successful conclusion. But Blom would continue to insist it was not over and predicted he would one day be exonerated. He again proclaimed his innocence to reporters as he driven to serve a mandatory life sentence without parole at a facility in Waynesburg, Penn. "I have never killed anyone," he insisted. He was certain he had a good case for an appeal, but he did not count on losing an apparent ally.

Blom appealed his conviction on half a dozen grounds, including that his attorney had not worked hard enough to suppress his confession and that the court had not allowed him to present evidence that another man had committed the abduction and murder. He also believed the defense team had made statements to reporters that had corrupted the jury pool before the trial started. They had made statements, but supposedly at his behest.

Katie Poirier
Katie Poirier

Apparently his wife now feared he might win. No longer frightened of what he might do to her, Amy Blom now sent an email to two Minnesota legislators, stating that Donald Blom had abused her for years and that she believed he had murdered Katie Poirier. She admitted that, due to her state of mind at the time of his trial, she had been unable to tell the truth. She had falsely stated that he'd been at home with her that night, but now she was ready to recant that testimony. She was no longer married to him and no longer under his domination. Now she could tell the truth: he had not been home that night.

Amy claimed she had endured Donald Blom punching and kicking her for seven years. She felt guilty that she had allowed it, and ashamed, but had felt helpless to do anything else but endure living with him. She hoped one day to ask Katie's family for their forgiveness, but understood if they did not wish to hear from her. She believed that ultimately she could not have prevented what happened to Katie, as she had no control over her husband. He went to the lake property frequently to fish. He told her little, and she had not even known before the investigation that he'd been married twice before. He had taken her last name to try to conceal his past, but she had merely thought it flattering.

"I now know," she said to a reporter, "that I was in many ways his hostage, paralyzed to speak up." Such feelings are common among women subjected to verbal and physical spousal abuse, especially if they have children and have few or no resources to help them leave. They feel trapped and demoralized. Blom's sons affirmed the violence, describing Amy's bruises and black eyes. She had attributed his foul moods to a bipolar disorder and had learned to behave in submissive ways that did not provoke him.

She admitted that after the authorities discovered human bone fragments in the fire pit, she had asked Blom about them and he'd turned on her with, "You're not f stupid, are you?" To her, that had been an incriminating statement, but she had desperately wanted to believe that he was innocent. She now believed, she wrote, that her husband had committed other crimes, including murder. The authorities did, too. Blom had led Katie easily from the store, as if he was used to doing it. They suspected he might be a serial killer.

In 2004, an appeals court issued an 81-page ruling that upheld his conviction. While his trial had not been perfect, the justices determined, it had been fair. They saw no reason to reverse the decision or grant a new trial.

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