During my time researching the death of Mike Bernos, I often overlooked Blan’s possible motive because of my then-friendship with Blan’s wife, Christina Blan. I found myself excusing it because I was not looking at the case objectively and from an unbiased perspective.
Since my friendship with Christina ended in 2020, I have had a chance to really look at the evidence without any interjection and to really study the information like I never did before. Some of that information was concerning Blan’s motive.
The Molestation Allegations
I’ve spoken at length in an earlier post about Blan’s allegations that Mike had molested him. I’d recommend reading that post for more information about those allegations, and why I no longer believe those allegations to be true.
The takeaway from the information presented in that post is (1) Blan never mentioned the allegations to anyone prior to being convicted and (2) he stood to benefit from the allegations at the time he accused Mike of molesting him. I have been trying to track down a lead to speak to about whether or not there was any validity to the allegations, but I have not been successful yet.
The Insurance Money
Regardless of whether or not the molestation allegations are true, Blan had another motive that proves to be a motive in many murder cases – money.
Because Mike had become Blan’s legal guardian, Blan believed he was subject to an inheritance in the event of Mike’s death. I know this because (1) Blan told me himself in previously recorded telephone conversations and (2) Blan made statements to police that he believed he was entitled to money from Mike’s will and insurance payouts. The photo below is a page from one of the statements Blan made to police where he states he spoke to an attorney after Mike’s death concerning the will and insurance, but the lawyer sent him a letter stating he was unable to help Blan.
As it turns out, Blan had been the beneficiary of Mike’s insurance policy through the State of Alabama, but Mike had changed the beneficiary from Blan to his mother almost 7 years before his death. By his own admission, Blan was unaware of this.
ME: Well, let me ask you about Mike’s life insurance policy. Were you aware that he had a life insurance policy and that you were the beneficiary of that policy?
BLAN: When I was with him, yeah. He told me.
ME: How much was the policy for?
BLAN: To be honest with you, I couldn’t tell you.
ME: You don’t remember if it was like $50,000, $100,000?
BLAN: Ma’am, I really couldn’t tell you. All he told me was that he made a promise to my mom and that I would be taken care of. That’s all he told me.
I spoke to Blan’s friend at the time of the murder, Chris Arthur, about this possible motive. Blan’s friends, including Arthur, have always believed in his innocence, but understand that confronting the evidence that makes him look guilty is an important part of the investigative process.
ARTHUR: That’s what I’m saying. Mike was his only support he had and another thing too I think Mike’s mother kind of resented the fact that Mike adopted Danny, because I don’t think she wanted him to have anything to do with him, because I think they were kind of from a little higher class family and didn’t want to have nothing to do with somebody from the streets. His mother was a drug addict and stuff. I don’t know, I mean this is just according to Danny now.
ARTHUR: I know according to Danny Mike had a little bit of money and stuff and I think whenever in Mike’s will, he was going to leave all that to Danny and I don’t know, whenever his mother found out, I think that’s when she really started pushing to try to tie Danny into all of this. To me that’s the whole case right there is them manufacturing stuff to tie him to this case so he doesn’t get anything that was willed to him from Mike, because they resented him that much and didn’t like him that much. I think that’s how this whole thing got manufactured. That’s another big reason why I think he’s innocent. From the times that I’ve been around Danny and Mike’s mother was around, you could tell that they didn’t care for him and anybody that was associated with them, they didn’t care for him.
Blan’s mother, Debbie Sainz, testified at Blan’s trial that she took Blan to see an attorney, Lawrence King, but that it wasn’t regarding Mike’s estate. She said it was because Blan had gotten hurt and needed to speak to a lawyer. She doesn’t go into any details about his injury, but when I looked up Lawrence King, I discovered he is a well-known personal injury attorney. Since 2018, King earned over $5,000,000 for his clients that were fired for filing a workers compensation claim.
However, within documents provided to me by the Blan family is a letter from Lawrence King discussing the estate of Mike Bernos. The letter is hard to make out because it appears to be a photocopy, but you can read enough information to determine the letter was not regarding a worker’s compensation claim.
Why would Debbie lie under oath about the visit to King and say it was for a worker’s compensation claim? I should have asked Debbie about this, but it didn’t occur to me until recently. Unfortunately, Debbie passed earlier this year and I am not able to ask her.
There is one thing I know for sure: Blan had motive to kill Mike. What are your thoughts?