Victim's Family Sues to Keep Funds from Blaylock
Says He Would Have Inherited Wife's Estate Otherwise
On the same day Steven Blaylock was convicted of murdering his wife, the sister of his victim filed suit Thursday, seeking to prevent him from inheriting any of the proceeds from her estate.
Bend attorney Lawrence Erwin filed the request for declaratory judgment "to disinherit slayer" in Deschutes County Circuit Court on behalf of Cindy Wright, listed as the personal representative of Lori Blaylock?s estate.
The three-page filing notes that Steven Blaylock usually would inherit 100 percent of the estate of his wife, whose body was never found. However, it notes that Steven Blaylock is now ?a slayer? as defined in state law, due to his conviction Thursday.
Wright said the goal is to make sure that Steven Blaylock will not be able to inherit anything of Lori's that was put in his name.
The attorney's filing quoted the state statute that outlines how any property that would have gone to ?a slayer or an abuser? of the victim should instead go the family estate as if that person had died first.
A year to the day after his arrest, a jury found Steven Blaylock guilty Thursday of murdering his wife, even though her body was never found.
"God bless the jurors for seeing what we saw all along," Cindy Wright said tearfully outside the courtroom, moments after the verdict. "It's not over. Our lives are forever changed by this."
I spoke with the convicted killer by phone shortly after he heard the jury's verdict. He told me he couldn't say much about the verdict because of his sentencing, set for next Thursday, but he did say: "Today was the worst day of my life."
Blaylock also said to tell his family he loved them and thank them for their support.
Just six hours after beginning deliberations, the jury Thursday found Steven Blaylock guilty of murder and not a lesser, manslaughter charge, rejecting his claim that he killed his wife, Lori "Woody" Blaylock, in self-defense during a violent struggle.
It was standing room only in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Detectives and forensic scientists who worked so tirelessly on the case were among the crowd.
The jury, which began its work at 8:30 a.m., announced less than six hours later it had reached a verdict after nearly three weeks of testimony in the closely watched case.
The guilty verdict came despite lack of a body, as Blaylock disposed of his wife's body in the North Santiam River, where repeated searches failed to find her remains.
Adler set sentencing for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17.
DA Patrick Flaherty said the prosecution will be seeking life in prison for the 47-year-old.
"They get to go see their son in jail," said Wright, the victim's sister, clutching a small pink unicorn. "I'll never get to see my sister, and my daughter will never see her aunt again."
Wright was clenching a small pink stuffed unicorn that her sister gave her as she talked to NewsChannel 21.
She said Lori loved unicorns and always had them with her, so she brought it to court Thursday for good luck.
"In my mind, she'll never be Lori Blaylock. She'll always be Lori Wright," she said.
As for the now-convicted killer, Wright said, "He's behind bars, and I never had a doubt that's where he deserved to be."
"I hope she knew she was loved," she said. "I don't think she knew she was as loved by as many people as she was."
Flaherty said in a news release that his office will be requesting a sentence of life in prison.
"The Bend Police Department did an extraordinary job both in investigating this difficult 'no body' murder case and in assisting our office in preparing for trial," Flaherty wrote. "Lead BPD Detective Pat Hartley worked with Deputy District Attorney Kandy Gies, the lead prosecutor on the case, seven days a week for the last three weeks to make the voluminous evidence presentable to the jury.
"This was a superlative team effort that involved several detectives from Bend Police Department and several lawyers, trial assistants and victim?s advocates in the District Attorney?s Office.
"To say that we are grateful for the hard work that the jury of 12 did on this case, including the two alternates who did not take part in the deliberations, would be an understatement," the DA concluded.
Our earlier story:
"He's a cold-blooded, calculating murderer," said Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty, taking a verbal swing at Steven Blaylock in his final words to the jury.
Testimony in Blaylock's murder trial is over, and on Thursday morning, the jury began deliberations, to decide if he's innocent or guilty.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys gave their closing arguments to jurors all day Wednesday.
Blaylock is charged with murder, but at the defense's request, he could be convicted of a lesser charge.
In order for Blaylock to be convicted of murder, all 12 jurors must unanimously find him guilty.
If 10 or more jurors find he's not guilty of murder, then they will deliberate on a possible conviction on manslaughter in the first or second degree.
But first they have to consider murder, and only murder.
Four men and eight women make up the 12-member jury, and on Wednesday, defense attorney T.J. Spear told them even in this highly emotional case -- their job is to remain void of emotion.
"You have to sift through the evidence and be dispassionate and objective when you determine what happened on Oct. 27 (2010)," Spear told the jurors.
Prosecutors say Steven Blaylock strangled his wife, then suffocated her with a pillow.
His defense team says he did strangle his wife, but it was Lori Blaylock who tried to suffocate him.
Inside the courtroom during closing arguments, there were so many people in support of Lori Blaylock and Steven Blaylock that people were literally sitting on the floor just to hear prosecutors and the defense team's final words to the jury.
And apparently for the first time since his trial began, Blaylock wiped away tears.
Sitting right behind Blaylock during all of this were his parents and other members of his family, and in another "first" Wednesday -- his family spoke out.
The Blaylocks released a statement about domestic violence and how according to their research, in 40 out of every 100 cases, it's the woman in the relationship who abuses the man. (However, Saving Grace, a Bend organization that supports abuse victims, says on its Website that in 90 percent of heterosexual relationships that result in domestic abuse, the victim is female.)
The family went on to say that according to oregoncounseling.org, one of the major contributing factors is often alcohol abuse.
The statement went on to say: "It is a very real disease with very real consequences. If there is any silver lining in this whole ordeal, it our hope that someone facing such a situation will find the courage to get the help they need before it's too late."
Also in the statement, the Blaylocks talked about their love for Lori, saying: "Our family has been devastated by the loss of Lori Blaylock and offer our prayers to all those affected by this tragedy, she was a member of our family too."
The Blaylocks said they only spoke out to ask the public to respect their privacy, especially for the sake of Steven's two kids.
The jury began deliberations at 8:30 am on Thursday. We're monitoring the courtroom and will have the verdict, and reaction to it, here on KTVZ.COM and on NewsChannel 21.
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