VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) -- Jurors began a second day of deliberations Wednesday morning in the Donald Blom kidnapping and murder trial following a month of testimony.
Jurors got the case around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. They had dinner brought in and continued their discussions for about four hours before retiring for the night. The jury is being sequestered until it reaches a verdict.
In a closing argument that stretched nearly two hours, Assistant Carlton County Attorney Thomas Pertler urged the jury to remember that Blom confessed to kidnapping and killing Katie Poirier.
He scoffed at Blom's testimony that he confessed only because he was under duress, or that medication Blom was taking might have contributed to the confession he later recanted.
"None of these explanations are reasonable explanations for confessing to something he didn't do," Pertler said. He suggested Blom was trying to minimize what he did.
"How does somebody confess to first-degree murder, taking a 19-year-old girl from a convenience store, terrorizing her ... choking her for 23 minutes, burning her body in a fire pit, and not minimize to some degree?" Pertler asked.
As he finished his closing remarks, Pertler held up for the jury two boxes containing the numerous human bone fragments found in Blom's fire pit. He said Poirier had been a pretty, petite young woman, "reduced to the remains contained in these two exhibits."
In his closing argument, defense attorney Rodney Brodin told the jury there's only one issue for them to decide, "whether or not the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Donald Blom committed the crime of a kidnapping, killing Kathlyn Poirier."
Brodin said prosecutors' case was riddled with inconsistencies and that the evidence doesn't square with what prosecutors say happened. He pointed to the difficulties that the prosecution's experts had in concluding that a partial molar found in Blom's fire pit belonged to Poirier. He also noted that the defense's dental forensics experts testified that the tooth differed from Poirier's in seven key respects.
"There's no possible way to find proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Katie Poirier's teeth or anyone else's were in that fire pit," he said.
Brodin also noted that Blom's wife, Amy, was steadfast in her contention that Blom was home with her in Richfield the night Poirier was abducted.
"Despite all the threats to take her kids away and put her in jail, charge her with a crime, she didn't and wouldn't back down and lie and say he wasn't there when he was," he said. "If she wanted to make her life a lot easier, that's what she could have done."
In Brodin's closing argument, which lasted about 3 1/2 hours, he said the reported side effects of some of Blom's medications included agitation, depression, insomnia and cognitive impairment.
Blom, 51, is accused of kidnapping Poirier, 19, of Barnum, from a Moose Lake convenience store on May 26, 1999, murdering her and burning her body in a fire pit at his nearby vacation property.
After the case went to the jury, Poirier's grandfather, Lloyd Simich, told reporters that he believed the prosecution had presented a strong case.
Patrick Poirier told reporters it has been 477 days since his sister was kidnapped.
"My sister was human, she is human," he said. "Now she's in two shoe boxes. And to hear him deny it, that's the worst."
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