Blamey testifies at trial
Testimony in the murder trial of Ronald D. Blamey entered its final phases this week, with closing arguments expected as early as yesterday.
Blamey, 64, a Truckee area contractor, is accused of killing his wife, Michiel, after an early morning argument on March 27, 2000.
Michiel Blamey, 52, was a special agent with the California Department of Justice. She was reported missing after failing to show up for work.
Blamey has admitted to killing his wife, but said he did so in self defense, fearing his wife was trying to pull a gun out of her purse.
Blamey led authorities to his wife’s body after he surrendered to Reno police March 29.
Testimony resumed Tuesday with Blamey under cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Ronald A. Wolfson.
Wolfson’s questioning focused on Blamey’s interrogation by Nevada County sheriff’s detectives, especially that of Detective Sergeant Ronald Smith, lead investigator on the case.
Blamey appeared disoriented and confused by Wolfson’s questioning. He rarely responded to the prosecutor’s questions without some sort of clarification and frequently repeated the prosecutors questions aloud before answering.
Several times Blamey asked “What page are we on?” as Wolfson questioned him about specific parts of his interrogation.
Blamey testified that he started arguing with his wife on the morning of the killing after she began yelling expletives at him because he put a vacuum in the wrong seat of her vehicle.
He said he responded by grabbing Michiel, but was subsequently stunned in the forearm when she pulled out a stun gun.According to the interrogation, Blamey said the physical confrontation escalated in the laundry room of their house.
Wolfson continued his cross examination by asking Blamey if he struck his wife.
“I did hit Mich in the head with a paint can, yes,” Blamey said.
Wolfson asked Blamey if he then hit her in the head with both an iron and a rock.
Blamey said he did, but only after she initiated the attacked with each item.
During the interrogation Blamey said he feared for his life because he thought his wife was trying to get a gun out her purse.
Michiel Blamey frequently carried a gun as her job as a Department of Justice special agent required it.
During testimony Tuesday, Blamey said he discovered the gun wasn’t in her possession only after the struggle in the laundry room was over. He said he emptied the contents of her purse on the floor and didn’t find a weapon.
Under questioning from defense attorney Thomas Viloria, Blamey said his wife made it a habit of carrying a gun even when she was off duty. Viloria referred back to a trip the couple took to Mexico.
As they neared the border, Blamey described how his wife had to dismantle her gun in the their RV because she feared taking it into Mexico.
Part of Blamey’s defense includes the assertion that his wife was going through emotional difficulties and dramatic mood swings which lead to explosive behavior in the months prior to her death.
Defense witness Randy Neff, a friend of Richard Blamey’s son Jim, seemed to corroborate some of that behavior in his testimony.
He described an incident in which he was helping the Blameys work on their home.
He said Michiel threw a hammer off the roof of the house after he mistakenly called her “Mary Lou”, the name of Richard Blamey’s first wife.
Testimony in the afternoon centered around that of Dr. J. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist retained by the prosecution and called as a rebuttal witness.
Meloy, who did his own psychological evaluation of Blamey including an interview last week, refuted some of Dr. Martha B. Mayaffey’s conclusions about Ronald Blamey.
Mayaffey is a psychologist retained by the defense and concluded Ronald Blamey “revealed a normal clinical profile.”
Meloy said that personality patterns from Mayaffey’s tests indicate “high narcissistic levels” and “strong narcissistic traits,” which the prosecution tried to tie to a response known as Narcissistic Rage Reaction.
Meloy said the reaction can result from an “acute shame or humiliation” in a person who has “an inflated sense of who they are.”
Meloy also said that Blamey was overly submissive.
“He pretty much did what Michiel wanted. The problem is that with each submissive event, there was resentment,” Meloy said.
Asked by Wolfson for his opinion on Blamey’s propensity for violence, Meloy disagreed with Mayaffey’s conclusion.
“There is a propensity for violence in Mr. Blamey” he said.
Wolfson also asked Meloy if during their interview last week he saw any evidence of Blamey appearing confused, “like he was this morning.”
“No,” Meloy said.
But later Meloy did state that Richard Blamey fell short of the clinical threshold of a mental disorder.
“I don’t think there is any evidence that Mr. Blamey has a diagnosable mental disorder, only strong narcissistic traits,” Meloy said.
On Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Wolfson said he expected to be done with the prosecutions rebuttal witnesses by the next day.
Closing arguments were expected to be finished by the end of the week.
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Over the past year, various “keep out” signs have appeared near the Hirschdale Bridge, causing concerns for river users. Those concerns led to a community meeting last week