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Tue, Apr 11th, 2000
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Larry Oakes Star Tribune
Tuesday, April 11, 2000

CARLTON, MINN -- State District Judge Gary Pagliaccetti today agreed to postpone the trial of Donald Blom until June 6 to give attorneys time to complete the discovery process.

Pagliaccetti imposed a May 5 cut-off date in which all reports and the witness list would need to be submitted.

'The court regrets that it has got to this point and that this is needed ... but this is an appropriate way to resolve the issues
before the court and with the parties,' Pagliaccetti said.

Citing voluminous last-minute disclosures by the prosecution, Blom's attorneys had asked for a three-month delay in his trial
on charges that he kidnapped and killed Katie Poirier.

Attorney Fred Friedman, northeastern Minnesota's chief public defender, said he thought the court-imposed deadline was
'It's important that we have a cutoff date,' Friedman said. 'We can't keep getting stuff at the last minute.'

In a motion faxed to Pagliaccetti on Monday, public defenders Rodney Brodin and Joanne Piper-Maurer also asked for legal
sanctions prohibiting prosecutors from using evidence disclosed after Jan. 1 or calling witnesses disclosed after Sept. 21.

Blom, 51, of Richfield, is charged with kidnapping Poirier, 19, from a Moose Lake convenience store on May 26 and killing
her. Jury selection for his trial in Virginia, Minn., is scheduled to begin Monday.

Brodin said the prosecution has turned over 1,000 pages of pretrial reports, diagrams and other "discovery" in the past two
weeks alone, and on April 5 added 23 names to the list of witnesses prosecutors expect to call.

"That gives us virtually no time to prepare," Brodin said. He said defense investigators must conduct interviews with most of
the witnesses disclosed, and must scrutinize each of the prosecution's reports.

Brodin said he expected that Pagliaccetti would hold a hearing or teleconference with attorneys this week to discuss the
defense motion. A court clerk said Monday that efforts were underway to schedule such a hearing for today in Carlton
County District Court.

Lead prosecutor Thomas Pertler, an assistant Carlton County attorney, could not be reached for comment. Last week Pertler
said the prosecution hadn't intentionally withheld information from the defense, and had been doing its best to deal with what
he called a "nightmare of paperwork."

In their motion, Brodin and Piper-Maurer said the recent disclosures include "new scientific testing" on an allegedly human
tooth authorities say came from a fire pit on Blom's rural Moose Lake property. Police believe the tooth was Poirier's.

"The new scientific evidence has left us rushing to talk with experts to determine what effect it has on our case and to find
out what we need to do to determine the accuracy of such evidence," the defense attorneys wrote.

The new disclosures also include recorded conversations between Blom and a former co-worker, and between Blom and a
reporter. The defense attorneys said that evidence should have been disclosed much earlier because it could potentially have
been challenged on constitutional grounds at evidence hearings.

"Mr. Blom, given the restraints of the jail and the restraints of time, has not reviewed all of the discovery," the attorneys
wrote. "He feels he should at least be able to review all of the evidence and talk with his attorneys about all of the evidence
before the trial begins."

The defense on Monday also filed reports of new interviews its investigators conducted in connection with the defense
contention that another man, not Blom, abducted Poirier.

The defense reports cite witnesses who say that just after the abduction, the alleged other suspect spent time on a rural
Duluth lake property, where the ground now shows signs of having been dug up, and where a neighbor recalls hearing a
woman scream during that period.

-- Staff writer Larry Oakes can be reached at 1-800-266-9648 or loakes@startribune.com.

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