Judge considering revoking bail for Camden man accused of pushing wife off cliff

Posted May 03, 2011, at 8:35 p.m.
Charles Black
Charles Black

ROCKLAND, Maine — A judge is taking time to consider whether a Camden man accused of pushing his wife off a mountain should be able to post their home as bail.

Charles Black, 68, of Camden already posted the house as his $240,000 surety bail in late April,  but that bail is in danger of being revoked as the District Attorney’s Office argues that using the home as collateral might unfairly punish the alleged victim. If Black does not show up to his court dates, the house would be sold, effectively kicking the alleged victim out of her home.

Black sat in Knox County Superior Court on Tuesday wearing a blue checked shirt. Next to him, Assistant District Attorney Chris Fernald argued that maybe Black’s wife will divorce him. Maybe the house isn’t really his because they bought it with his wife’s inheritance. Keep the bail the same, but don’t let him post the home, Fernald argued.

Black’s attorney, Walter McKee, dismissed Fernald’s statements.

“He owns this property. His name is on the deed,” McKee said in court. “This is one property owned by husband and wife.”

Further, McKee said, any talk of a future divorce is “extremely hypothetical and speculative.”

Black’s bail was originally set in April, but Fernald learned that the house was purchased with Lisa Black’s inheritance — which might change what rights Black has to the home if the couple divorces.

Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said Tuesday he would take the two attorneys’ arguments under advisement, would investigate the law further and issue a decision in the next couple of days.

If the judge decides Black can’t use the home as bail, Black could be sent back to jail or given time to find a new source of surety, according to Fernald.

Black is charged with aggravated assault stemming from an April 7 incident when, his 52-year-old wife, Lisa, told police, he smashed her head with a rock three times while they were on a hike, dragged her to the edge of Maiden Cliff on Mount Megunticook and pushed her over.

Lisa Black fell a short distance, got up and started running down the mountain in Camden Hills State Park, according to police reports filed in court. As she ran down the mountain, Charles Black fell past her and appeared injured, she told police.

Lisa Black made it to the bottom of the mountain to a nearby road by 3:20 that afternoon, when a passer-by called police. She was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Several police agencies then searched for Charles Black for 3½ hours. After he was located, he too was brought to the Bangor hospital. Both were reported to be seriously injured.

Before she left the hospital, Lisa Black filed for and was granted a protection from abuse order against her husband. Charles Black was arrested as he was being released from the hospital on Friday, April 15.

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