Robert Blake Blurton - MO - Triple Homicide Receives Death Penalty

Started by JeffcoCitizen, August 10, 2013, 02:15:55 AM

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Blurton Receives Death Sentence for Cole Camp Triple Homicide


LIBERTY, Mo. - A Benton County man accused of killing a couple and their 15-year-old granddaughter in Cole Camp in 2009 was sentenced to death today by a Clay County judge hearing the case on a change of venue.

As recommended by the jury that found him guilty of first-degree murder, Blurton was sentenced to death for each of the three murders of Taron Luetjen and her grandparents, Donnie and Sharon Luetjen at their home in Benton County. The victims were Blurton's aunt and uncle, and his cousin's daughter.

Investigators said Blurton killed the three after a robbery. According to court testimony, the family was tied up before being shot.

The Clay County jury, hearing the case after a change of venue, deliberated for nearly four hours and recommended the death penalty after the penalty phase of the trial.


His automatic appeal was denied. The case information was quite lengthy so I just posted the courts outcome paprgraph.

Outcome: Mr. Blurton's requested jury instruction on the statutory lesser included offense of felony murder did not properly conform to the requirements in Notes on Use 2(b) of MAI-CR 3d 314.06, and the trial court was not obligated to submit an incorrect instruction. The trial court did not err in refusing to submit an improper instruction to the jury. The trial court also did not err in admitting evidence at trial over Mr. Blurton's objection. The trial court properly admitted testimony regarding the location of the cell phone towers to which Mr. Blurton's cell phone connected on the night of the murders,
 including his testimony that this analysis showed Mr. Blurton's cell phone traveling on a path from his home in Garnett, Kansas, to Cole Camp. The witness's testimony of his telephone toll analysis of Mr. Blurton's cell phone calls did not require expert testimony because his testimony was within the realm of a layperson. Moreover, his statement that this analysis showed Mr. Blurton's general path of travel was based only on common inferences within the realm of the ordinary experiences of a layperson. The trial court also did not err in admitting testimony from the state's fingerprint analyst that her
 conclusions had been verified by other analysts. The trial court sustained three of Mr. Blurton's objections and granted him all the relief he sought, and, in the only instance in which his objection was overruled, the trial court did not err because Mr. Blurton's objection was untimely and similar testimony had already been admitted without objection. The trial court also did not err in excluding evidence at trial. Mr. Blurton's claim
 that the trial court erred in excluding evidence of Taron's mother's presence outside the Luetjens' home on the day of the murders was not preserved because Mr. Blurton did not attempt to present this evidence at trial. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the Luetjens' daughter's testimony about being fearful of Taron's mother due to rumors and a threatening telephone call to the Luetjens' friend because this testimony was not logically relevant to show the daughter's bias against or motive to testify untruthfully about Taron's mother when Taron's mother was not a "personality" in the
 case or even called as a witness at trial and was of little probative value to show the daughter's motive to falsely identify Mr. Blurton on the 911 call. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding testimony from the Luetjens' friend about telephone calls from Taron's mother and maternal grandmother because this testimony would have only been admissible to support testimony that the trial court properly excluded or that Mr. Blurton did not o er at trial. The trial court also did not err in rejecting Mr. Blurton's mistrial requests after the state inadvertently showed gruesome photographs from the crime scene during the testimony of three witnesses. No evidence was presented that the state intentionally showed these photographs to the Luetjens' friends or family. Moreover, all of these photographs were later shown to the jury, they were gruesome because the crime was gruesome, and Mr. Blurton declined the trial court's offer to instruct the jury to disregard
 the photographs. An independent review by this Court finds that the record does not show that the death sentences were imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any arbitrary factor. Additionally, the evidence supports the jury's finding that Mr. Blurton had a prior serious assaultive conviction, that each murder was committed while he was engaged in
 the commission of two other murders, and that the murders involved a depravity of mind and, as a result, the murders were outrageously and wantonly vile, horrible, and inhuman. Moreover, this Court finds that Mr. Blurton's sentence was not excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases.
 Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

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