A Dove Creek man suspected of strangling his girlfriend 1½ years ago was scheduled Friday for a two-week trial to begin late November in 6th Judicial District Court.
William Blackburn Jr., 46, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Cindy Johnson, 61. He appeared Friday in District Court in La Plata County with his public defenders.
Blackburn was scheduled to be tried earlier this year in Dolores County, but 22nd Judicial District Judge Todd Plewe declared a mistrial after determining a fair and impartial jury couldn’t be empaneled in Dolores County, which is the seventh least-populated county in the state.
The case was moved to La Plata County to be overseen by District Judge William Herringer.
According to an arrest affidavit, Blackburn called the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office at 6:12 p.m. Jan. 8, 2015, to report his girlfriend’s death. He said he returned home from work to find her in the fetal position on the couch, cold and stiff.
But during a forensic autopsy Jan. 14, 2015, Dr. Robert Kurtzman found signs associated with manual strangulation.
He also expressed concerns with the lividity of the body – the bluish coloring that occurs after death – saying it was inconsistent with the reported position of the body at the time it was discovered, indicating the body had been moved.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which was asked to assist the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office, interviewed Blackburn on multiple occasions. But during the course of those interviews, he gave inconsistent statements, according to the arrest affidavit. Blackburn was eventually arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder.
Defense attorneys have argued that Johnson died of a drug overdose.
firstname.lastname@example.orgAn earlier version of this story incorrectly identified William Blackburn’s hometown.