CARLTON (AP) -- Donald Blom has been transferred to the maximum-security state prison at Oak Park Heights to begin serving his sentence of life without parole for the kidnapping and killing of Katie Poirier.
Officials said Blom was moved to Oak Park Heights from the Carlton County jail Friday, the same day court documents were filed shedding light on some evidence Judge Gary Pagliaccetti apparently prevented the jury from hearing.
The documents suggest that he blocked prosecutors' attempts to introduce Poirier's death certificate and prevented the defense from offering testimony from an expert in the cremation of bodies.
The jury on Wednesday found Blom, 51, of Richfield, guilty of kidnapping Poirier, 19, of Barnum, from a Moose Lake convenience store on May 26, 1999, killing her and burning her body in a fire pit on his nearby vacation property.
Pagliaccetti delayed public disclosure of attorneys' motions and closed motion hearings to the public during the trial to prevent jurors from learning about evidence that might be excluded.
In one document, the defense asked that Pagliaccetti exclude Poirier's death certificate and prevent any testimony about it. Dr. Ricard Puumala, the Carlton County coroner, signed the death certificate Feb. 14, listing the cause as "homicidal violence."
The defense contended that though some experts believed the burned bones and tooth found in Blom's fire pit came from Poirier, there was no DNA evidence to confirm that, and her death had not been proven.
Pagliaccetti's orders on evidence questions during the trial have yet to be made public, but jurors didn't see or hear about the death certificate, suggesting the defense won on that point.
But the defense apparently lost a bid to call as a witness Barbara Rosso, crematorium supervisor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. The defense consulted her about whether a human body could be burned almost to ashes in a fire pit, as the prosecution contended Poirier's body was.
According to a report filed Friday, Rosso told the defense that, as paraphrased by the investigator who interviewed her, "there is no way a fire in the Blom pit could have ever burned hot enough and at a consistent (enough) temperature to cremate the body of Poirier."
"In my opinion," Rosso wrote, "there should be more bone/ash present, and there would have had to (be) a constant flame on this body to reduce it to white cremains."
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