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For the third time, an appeal by convicted killer Donald Blom has been turned back by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Blom was convicted in the 1999 kidnapping and killing of 19-year-old Moose Lake convenience store clerk Katie Poirier, a case that sparked new sex offender laws in Minnesota. On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected Blom's attempt to gain a new trial, saying his arguments didn't meet a procedural threshold.

In his appeal, Blom appears to make five different claims: that the district court did not apply the appropriate standard when reviewing his petition for postconviction relief; that his confession was coerced and, therefore, its admission into evidence violated his constitutional rights; that the district court improperly asserted subject matter jurisdiction over federal charges by leading him to believe that his confession would result in resolution of federal firearm charges and by issuing orders interfering with Blom's access to his federal public defender; that he has been improperly denied the opportunity to develop evidence demonstrating his actual innocence; and that he is being improperly held out of state to prevent him from perfecting his appeal.

Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler prosecuted Blom.

"He was tried and convicted by the jury," Pertler said last Thursday night. "I think the Supreme Court recognizes that you give deference to the jury and what they decide on the merits of the case. The issues that he was raising — although difficult to ascertain what they were — were looked at by the Supreme Court and it was determined that the claims he was asserting had been previously asserted so he wasn't entitled to any relief."

Blom is serving a life sentence. Now 58, and formerly of Richfield, Minn., Blom was convicted of abducting Poirier from the Moose Lake convenience store where she worked May 26, 1999, strangling her on his nearby vacation property and then burning the body.

After his arrest, Blom confessed to strangling the woman. He later recanted the confession, but it was used in his trial. He was convicted of first-degree murder on Aug. 16, 2000, at the conclusion of a 10-week trial in Virginia. The conviction was automatically appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court and affirmed. He filed another appeal last January, which led to Thursday's decision.

Blom is serving a life prison sentence without parole for Poirier's murder and a 19-year, seven-month sentence on a federal gun charge. He is being held in a Pennsylvania prison, where his anonymity among inmates can help protect his safety.


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