UPDATE: Jury Deliberates Fate of Daniel Blizzard - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Jury Deliberates Fate of Daniel Blizzard

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YAKIMA, WA. -- The fate of Daniel Blizzard is now in the hands of a jury. Blizzard is accused of hiring a hit man to kill Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook.

The prosecution and the defense left the jury with their closing arguments Monday morning. Now the jury is deliberating the fate of Daniel Blizzard. In closing arguments, the prosecution kept reiterating that Blizzard had 1.58 million reasons to want Vern Holbrook dead, referring to the life insurance policy taken out on Holbrook. 

The defense, in their closing arguments, attacked each individual witness who pointed the finger at Blizzard, saying that the state "bought" their testimony in exchange for their freedom. 

"I'm going to keep going with these people because now I have somebody to actually follow through with what I want," Prosecutor Alvin Guzman said. "And that's to have Vern Holbrook dead. The one point five million reasons that he has to kill him."

"His life has been in my hands," Defense attorney Pete Mazzone said. "But from this moment on, his life is in your hands."

Throughout this entire trial we have seen an extremely interesting mix of business professionals and drug users. It really has been a collision of two very different worlds. 

Now we wait. At any time during normal business hours, the jury could come back with a verdict for Daniel Blizzard. When that happens we'll be there to tell you his fate. 

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YAKIMA, WA. -- The trial of Daniel Blizzard continued Friday. Blizzard is accused of hiring a hit man to kill Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook, for 10-thousand dollars.The defense continued to call witnesses Friday and is pointing the finger at a key witness in the case. The defense is making a case that Jill Taylor, Vern Holbrook's former daughter-in-law and Blizzard's ex girlfriend is the one who hired the hit man in this murder. The defense says she did it for money and to get her kids back. 

Friday the defense called Anthony Logan to the stand. Jill Taylor had a sexual relationship with Logan while she was dating Blizzard. Logan testified that, despite Jill talking about killing Holbrook, she never mentioned that Blizzard was involved.

"Who was supposed to be paying this 10 thousand dollars?" Pete Mazzone asked Logan.

"Jill," Logan responded.

"Was Daniel Blizzard any part of any of these conversations?" Mazzone asked. 

"No," Logan said. 

The prosecution questioned Logan about his changing statements. Logan told the police earlier this year that he didn't know anything about the hit to kill Vern Holbrook. But now his story has obviously changed. 

We also learned one very important piece of information. Although the defense hinted at it in opening statements, Daniel Blizzard has chosen to not take the stand. So we will not hear from Blizzard himself during this trial.

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YAKIMA, WA.- Daniel Blizzard is accused of hiring a hit man to kill Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook last year. 

Today, footage from Adriana Mendez's interrogation back in 2013 after Holbrook's assault was shown to the jury. 

Mendez could hardly hold back tears as the court reviewed the footage of her interrogation. 

Defense attorney Peter Mazzone discussed the rules of Mendez's plea bargain. This deal ensured she would be free from any charges, as long as Blizzard was found guilty.  

"The agreement called for you being let out simply by testifying, the fact is that so long as you testify you will be let out," defense attorney Peter Mazzone said while Mendez was on the stand. 

 The video showed Mendez first deny any link to the assault and then later admit to being in the home where Holbrook was brutally beaten. 

The interrogation video took up most of the afternoon. Mendez will take the stand again tomorrow to finish questioning regarding the released interrogation footage.


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YAKIMA, WA. -- Another dramatic day in the murder trial of Daniel Blizzard. He's the man accused of hiring a hit man to kill Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook. For the first time Tuesday, we heard an eye witness account of the attack on Holbrook. 

In the morning, Jill Taylor took the stand once again. During the prosecution's questioning, she talked about how Daniel Blizzard was the one who wanted Vern Holbrook dead. Jill said she thought of Vern as a father figure and told the jury she loved Holbrook up until his death.

Defense attorney Pete Mazzone questioned her true love for Holbrook and asked why she never told her former father in law about Blizzard's plot to kill him.

"I have already come to terms that I wasn't going to be hiding anything for anyone anymore," Jill Taylor said. "The truth was going to be spoken."

"But you love this man so much," Defense Attorney Pete Mazzone said. "Did you go to him and say 'hey man someone's trying to poison you?'"

"No," Taylor responded. 

"No. So the compassion was gone by that time?" Mazzone asked. 

"No the compassion wasn't gone," Taylor responded. 

The defense also called into question Taylor's lifestyle, asking her about her use of drugs, specifically meth. The defense also asserted that Taylor lied on her original testimony to the police and was only talking now because she agreed to a deal that would have all of her charges dropped. 

Jill Taylor was not the only key witness to take the stand Tuesday. In the afternoon, Adriana Mendez testified about her eye witness account of the assault on Vern Holbrook. 

Mendez testified that she was there when Vern Holbrook was brutally attacked and had his throat slit. Mendez confessed that she and her boyfriend Luis Gomez-Mongez were hired, by Daniel Blizzard, to kill Vern Holbrook for ten thousand dollars. 

The prosecutor dimmed the lights and showed pictures of the house in which Holbrook was attacked. Mendez told the jury exactly what she saw happen to Vern inside that home. 

"I saw Luis leaning over him, hitting Vern in the head like three, four times," Mendez said.

Adriana Mendez became very emotional while telling the jury what happened when Holbrook was assaulted. Mendez then testified that after the assault she texted Blizzard and told him, "the job is done."

The defense was not able to fully cross examine Mendez before the court recessed for the night. But it is expected that the defense will question Mendez's connection to Blizzard because she took a plea deal in exchange for her testimony. 

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YAKIMA, WA. -- Daniel Blizzard is accused of hiring a hit man to kill Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook. Monday, the jury heard from one of the most important witnesses in the case.
Jill Taylor, former daughter in law of Vern Holbrook, took the stand for the prosecution Monday. We've been hearing about Jill from other witnesses almost every day during this trial.

Friends of Jill testified that she was telling people about how she was trying to kill her father-in-law Vern for months and that she was a regular methamphetamine user. 

Jill had a little different story to tell Monday afternoon. She says Blizzard was the one who wanted Holbrook dead after a business deal to buy his company, Aspen Real Estate, fell through. 

"Did Mr. blizzard ever ask you to do anything to harm Mr. Holbrook?" Prosecutor Alvin Guzman asked."Yes," Jill Taylor responded.

"He asked me to poison him," Jill said.

The defense was not able to cross-examine Jill Taylor Monday since her testimony went right up until the court went into a break for the night. Tuesday, Jill Taylor will finish her testimony and we also expect to hear from Adriana Mendez, the women who allegedly help carry out the hit on Vern Holbrook. 


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YAKIMA, WA. -- Controversy in the Daniel Blizzard trial continued Friday. Blizzard is accused of hiring a man to kill Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook.This trial is very complex and is having a very tough time getting into any type of rhythm because of all the serious objections raised, mostly by the defense. 

Friday the jury heard testimony about the pending civil lawsuit regarding who owns Vern Holbrook's company, Aspen Realty. Holbrook's civil attorney testified that he believes the Blizzards did not have the money to pay for the original sale agreement. That's when things got very complicated. 

The defense, on cross examination, presented a document that could contradict his claim. The attorney then said he did not feel comfortable continuing with his testimony because the lawsuit is still pending. 

Listen to the objections of the defense and the prosecution's response. 

"The clear impression that has been left is that these are money hungry people, they're not interested in the contract that they signed, they're just asking for money, they're just asking for policies, and money on policies," Defense Attorney Pete Mazzone said. "And that can't be the impression that's left with the jury."

"This is going into too further detail and it's a part of a settlement and I don't think it's appropriate to be going in that far your honor," Prosecutor Alvin Guzman.

In the end, the judge made the attorney continue with his testimony. 

This trial has had its fair share of drama and overall confusion. And we have yet to see Jill Taylor, Vern Holbrook's step daughter, or Adriana Mendez who is accused of helping to kill Holbrook, take the stand which could happen on Monday. 

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YAKIMA, WA. -- More controversy in the trial of Daniel Blizzard, the man accused of hiring a man to kill Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook. 

The jury was excused Thursday afternoon during witness testimony while the defense raised another serious objection with the prosecution's case. Defense attorney Peter Mazzone claims the state is mismanaging the trial and bringing up irrelevant evidence.  

"Now we're telling the prosecutor what to do," Mazzone said. "This is simply not right. And this is not fair. And I once again, am moving for an immediate dismissal for gross mismanagement."

"Frankly, Mr. Mazzone is stating concerns that it's reflecting badly on the defendant," Judge Ruth Reukauf said. "I think it's reflecting badly on everyone at this point"

The prosecution says they are trying to lay the foundation for other witnesses to testify. For now, the judge has recognized the defenses request for dismissal, but has not made a final decision.

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YAKIMA, WA. -- A dramatic scene Wednesday afternoon in a Yakima courtroom as the defense in the trial about the brutal murder of a local real estate broker, raised some serious objections. The entire case about the death of Vern Holbrook is now in jeopardy. The trouble for the prosecution started before court was even in session Wednesday. The defense raised multiple objections, saying the prosecution did not fully disclose all the information that witnesses were going to testify about. 

When court was in session, the state called multiple investigators as witnesses who testified about evidence they sampled in the case. One witness described finding what they believe was the murder weapon. 

Now while this was all going on, the defense was raising the same objections, claiming the testimony was not relevant.

"There was an orange handle. A box cutter," Mitchell Nissan of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab said.

"And why did you take that out of all the other items that you saw in the trunk?" Prosecutor Alvin Guzman asked. 

"It had red brown stain on it," Nissan said. "We tested it for the presence of blood."

"This is not a trial. This is just not a trial," Defense Attorney Pete Mazzone said. "And I think your honor knows that. And that's all I have to say. I'm moving for an immediate dismissal."

"That is the the most extreme remedies and I don't think we're there yet," Judge Ruth Reukauf said. "So I'm going to deny that motion, or that request by defense. And I will note their objection for the record."

The prosecution claims they properly prepared the defense. The judge sided with the defenses' argument but didn't think the errors from the prosecution gave grounds for a full dismissal.

The trial of Daniel Blizzard continues but it continues in a very precarious position moving forward. 





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