State, defense at odds whether man accused of trying to push wife off cliff can return to Camden

Posted June 20, 2014, at 3:21 p.m.
Charles R. Black
Courtesy of Knox County Jail
Charles R. Black

CAMDEN, Maine — A judge will decide next week whether a 71-year-old man, who is accused of trying to murder his wife by pushing her off Maiden Cliff more than three years ago, can stay in Camden during his trial next month.

The attorney for Charles Black has asked Justice Jeffrey Hjelm to amend the bail conditions on Black to allow him to stay with a friend who lives on Knowlton Street in Camden during the trial that is expected to last two weeks. Jury selection is scheduled to begin July 14.

The district attorney’s office opposes the request, which resulted in a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Knox County Superior Court. The prosecutor could not be reached for immediate comment Friday, but the state sought the original bail condition because his former wife lives in Camden.

Defense attorney Walter McKee argued in his motion, however, that Knowlton Street is on the other side of town from Marine Street, where Lisa Black lives. He also said Charles Black has adhered to all his bail terms for the past three years. Charles Black has been living out of state but will be returning for the trial.

Charles Black was indicted by a grand jury in July 2011 on charges of attempted murder, two counts of elevated aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of domestic violence assault in connection with the incident that occurred April 7, 2011. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

According to the prosecution, Charles and Lisa Black were hiking in April 2011 when he struck her one or more times in the head with a rock, dragged her body to the edge of Maiden Cliff in Camden and pushed her over. Black told police he had passed out and fell forward, striking the back of his wife’s head with his head, according to the police report.

Lisa Black fell a short distance but then got up and managed to make it down to the bottom of the mountain, where she was spotted by a passing motorist and taken to a hospital.

Charles Black was found injured after a subsequent search and was arrested a few days later after being released from Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Police records from the time of Black’s arrest indicate that his wife inherited $4 million, shortly before the incident, and told police her husband was taking money without her permission. She also told officers her husband had been having an online affair with a former girlfriend.

The Blacks have since divorced.

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