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Blom Confesses to Killing Katie Poirier
By Amy Radil
September 9, 1999
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What exactly prompted Donald Blom to confess to the kidnapping and killing of Katie Poirier is unclear. But after more than two months in prison, Blom gave a statement to authorities yesterday in which he confessed he kidnapped Poirier and said the human remains found on his property are hers. Blom's attorneys discouraged him from making the plea agreement, since he'll still likely face life in prison without parole. But Blom said he wants to get the matter behind him.

Nineteen-year-old Katie Poirier's disappearance prompted a massive search effort, with volunteers coming from around the state to comb the woods near the Conoco station where she'd been abducted.
AFTER WEEKS of apparently not cooperating with investigators, Donald Blom signaled his willingness to discuss a plea agreement during an interview with a Twin Cities TV station Friday. On Tuesday, a deal was reached, and Blom spent the day calling relatives before formally confessing to killing Katie Poirier.

Blom's been in jail since June when he was charged with kidnapping Poirier from the Moose Lake convenience store where she worked. He was also charged in federal court with illegal possession of firearms. Blom's defense attorney, Rodney Brodin, says a grand jury will likely charge his client with first-degree murder, possibly by next week.

Under the agreement, Blom will plead guilty to that charge as well as the federal firearms charge. Brodin says he opposed the agreement because all Blom receives from the deal is guaranteed incarceration in North Dakota, near his family.
Brodin: Mr. Blom made this statement out of his feelings for the Poirier family and certainly out of the feelings for his own family. He wanted to get the matter behind him. As a parent, I certainly think morally he did the right thing. As his attorney, that is not what I would have advised him to do.
Officials say Blom admits he choked Poirier and then burned her body in the fire pit on his Moose Lake property. After making his statement to authorities, including Carlton County Sheriff Dave Seboe and officials with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the F.B.I, Blom phoned two Twin Cities TV stations and asked that reporters leave his family alone. Part of the agreement also allows his wife, Amy Blom, to retain property that had been seized by authorities, including their Richfield home, the Moose Lake site, and their vehicle. The agreement does not specify whether Blom will be questioned about other unsolved crimes in which he's a suspect. His previous record contains six felony convictions including sexual assault and kidnapping. Brodin did not rule out that Blom may be questioned in the future.
Brodin: The agreement that we have is that they would be talking to him about the Katie Poirier case and the federal firearms charge, we are not talking about other cases.
The agreement does include the illegal firearms possession charge against Blom, which carries a sentence of 15-years-to-life imprisonment. His attorney on the federal charge, Rick Holmstrom, says under the agreement, Blom will technically be a state prisoner, although he'll be serving a federal sentence as well.
Holmstrom: I'm anticipating it would be closer to 15 years. But it's going to run concurrently with the state sentence which I assume will be life without parole.
Nineteen-year-old Katie Poirier's disappearance prompted a massive search effort, with volunteers coming from around the state to comb the woods near the Conoco station where she'd been abducted. Posters and billboards sprang up around the region. The case seemed to strike a chord with the public, and received national attention. Janice Larson helped with the search efforts, headquartered at Hope Lutheran Church in Moose Lake. She says she helped staff a booth at the state fair, where Poirier's parents asked the help of passers-by in finding Katie.
Larson: I think the Poiriers with this experience and the way the Poiriers are, it has really strengthened the love in families, I think we're all going to be stronger families because of it so there is good that comes from evil.
Blom's attorney says Blom confirmed bone fragments found on his Moose lake property are those of Poirier. While outsiders may expect the Poiriers to experience at least a little relief from Blom's confession, Larson says the news is devastating because as recently as this weekend, people still voiced hope of finding the young woman alive.
Larson: You know, we hoped and prayed for a resolution, I don't think there's ever closure to something like this. To be resolved. But not in this way.
In a room at the church dedicated to search efforts, one wall is filled with maps of the area, with large "X"s through the portions covered. The table is filled with maroon-and-gold ribbons which volunteers have been wearing to inspire the search for Poirier. They say they'll still continue to distribute the ribbons now - as a memorial to Poirier and other kidnapping victims.