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Opening statements offered in Hartford murder trial

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Opening statements offered in Hartford murder trial

By Michele Fiore. CREATED Aug 12, 2014

WEST BEND - Opening statements began Tuesday in Daniel Bartelt's murder trial. The victim's mother and Hartford police testified. It was an especially emotional day for the parents of Jessie Blodgett. They've been side by side through it all, as the court decides the fate of the man who's charged with killing their only child.

Blodgett's mother Debra Joy was the first person to take the stand in this trial. She testified that her daughter and Daniel Bartelt were friends. She had come home for lunch more than once to find the two of them playing music together.
 
"When you would see Daniel at the house on those three occasions, did Jessie and Dan appear to enjoy each other's company and be having a good time making music?" asked Gary Schmaus, defense attorney.  "Yes yes,"  answered Debra Blodgett.
 
But when Debra Blodgett came home for lunch on July 15th of last year, something wasn't quite right.  Jessie's room didn't look out of order, but her daughter was covered up.
 
"She didn't ever keep the covers on her and her bed wasn't cluttered," said Debra Blodgett.
 
That's when Debra Blodgett realized her daughter wasn't breathing and made an emotional 911 call, crying and begging for help.  Officer Nathaniel Dorn was the first on scene. He testified that he rushed into the house, and heard a woman yelling for help.
 
"When I entered the bedroom I observed a female, later identified as the mother Joy, doing CPR on another female body," said Officer Dorn.
 
Police shot video of Jessie's room that day. The Blodgetts held each other close as prosecutors showed it in court. We won't show it here, but it included video of Jessie's body and the marks around her neck. The defense fought hard to keep it from jurors, but lost.
 
"I don't think it's being offered for the purposes of exciting the passions of the jury, but rather for the purposes of assisting the jury in understanding the crime scene," Judge Todd Martens from Washington County.
 
The state continues with its case Wednesday. We're expecting to hear from more police officers and witnesses who were with Jessie in the days before she died.
Michele Fiore

Michele Fiore

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Michele Fiore joined TODAY’S TMJ4 in 2013 after spending two years as a part-time reporter/anchor for our sister station, Newsradio 620 WTMJ.