Blaylock Verdict: Expert, Community Weigh In

Many Residents Say They're Glad Case is Over

POSTED: 5:34 AM PST November 10, 2011    UPDATED: 8:11 AM PST November 10, 2011 
BEND; Ore. -

In a unanimous decision, Steven Blaylock was found guilty of murdering his wife Lori Thursday afternoon, and many people, viewers and experts were ready to weigh in on the trial.

Many Central Oregonians who have been watching the story unfold said they were ready for the trial to be over and ready to see Blaylock in prison.

Bend defense attorney Erick Ward said he believes the defendant's claim of self-defense was a hard sell to the jury.

"The jury is really going to be asked to get inside his head, and figure out what his intent was at the time he committed that act," Ward said before the verdict came down -- as it turned out, just six hours into their deliberations.

Ward says the different charges Blaylock was facing describe his intent at the time he killed his wife. Either Blaylock planned it, which is murder, or he acted under an extreme emotional disturbance or recklessly, which could have resulted in a manslaughter conviction.

"The prosecutor has this fact that he hid the body afterwards, lied about it afterwards and apparently changed his story a couple of times, admittedly so," Ward said. "The prosecutor can use that as circumstantial evidence of motive, which goes back to the central issue of intent."

Before the murder verdict was returned many people in Bend who have been closely watching the trial said they knew the 47-year-old would be convicted.

"I think, personally, that Murder 1 is there," Bend resident Bill Midanik said. "But I can see possibly where there's always a chance they could go for manslaughter instead."

Another resident, Jack Tannenbaum, said he was surprised that the jury came to its verdict so quickly.

"Well, that's pretty quick, since they just started deliberation," Tannenbaum said. "So, that quick -- guilty. They're going to come up with a guilty. I hope they come up with a guilty."

The jury did just that. They shot down the claim that Blaylock was fighting for his life when his wife allegedly attacked him.

Under Measure 11, Judge Michael Adler will have to sentence him to a minimum of 25 years in state prison, though prosecutors will seek a life term.

But for some who have been watching the trial, they just wanted to see it end.

"I've just been saturated with it," Bend resident Margaret Holman said. "I will be relieved when I find out there's a verdict, one way or the other. I'll be happy to not see his face on TV any more."