Charges dismissed in workers’ manslaughter case
September 28, 2017
CRAIG — The Craig Station contract worker charged with manslaughter following a deadly late-night fight in the spring no longer faces charges after the case was dismissed this week.
Fourteenth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Brett Barkey filed a motion to dismiss the case Sept. 22 on the grounds that defendant Justin Blodgett acted in self-defense and also that his actions that night weren't enough to cause a "substantial" risk of death.
The incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. March 30 in the alley behind the Trav-O-Tel Motel in Craig, where Blodgett, 26, allegedly punched his 36-year-old co-worker, Raymond Terrill, once in the head. Terrill's knees buckled, according to court records, and he fell to the ground and stopped breathing shortly thereafter.
The men had been out drinking at local bars with several other co-workers before returning to their hotel rooms to drink more, court records said. The men were members of the IBEW; Blodgett was an apprentice and Terrill a journeyman.
"We dismissed the case., because we did not believe we could disprove that Mr. Blodgett acted in self defense," Barkey said.
Court documents characterized Terrill as extremely intoxicated and belligerent the night of his death and included witness interviews stating he was acting aggressively and attempting to provoke Blodgett.
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They painted Blodgett as being fairly collected and reluctant to fight. He threw the deadly punch when Terrill aggressively advanced toward him, backing him toward a fence, the document said.
"A single blow to the head with a closed fist is not something the average person views as presenting a 'substantial' risk of death," the DA said in a motion to dismiss.
The cause of death was ruled as blunt force trauma to the head, according to court records. Terrill had a blood alcohol content of .255 at the time of his death.
Barkey and Craig Police Commander Bill Leonard flew to Missouri Sept. 22 to inform Terrill's wife and parents of their conclusions.
"I don't think it's right. (Blodgett) got off too easy," said Teresa Terrill, Raymond Terrill's mother. "He took my son's life, and I think he should get something for it."
Teresa Terrill described how close she and her husband, Garol Terrill, were with their only son.
"I always called him every night, or he always called me, and I just miss him so much," she said.
Blodgett had several arrests on his criminal records for assault as a teenager, however, his defense attorney painted a picture of him as a reformed, hard-working family man with a wife and three children at home in Grand Junction.
Terrill leave a wife and four children, including 4-year-old and 6-year-old sons, as well as 12-year-old and 16-year-old stepdaughters.
Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.
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