Judge rules man accused of trying to push wife off Camden cliff can’t stay in town during trial

Posted June 24, 2014, at 11:27 a.m.
Charles R. Black
Knox County Jail
Charles R. Black

ROCKLAND, Maine — A judge rejected the request Tuesday morning of 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, that he be able to stay in Camden during his trial next month.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said the reasons to reject the request outweigh Charles Black’s reasons for wanting to stay in Camden. A hearing was held Tuesday morning in Knox County Superior Court by a telephone conference.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said the victim is still very concerned for her well-being. He said Black has been prohibited from being in Camden since his arrest and two more weeks would not be an unreasonable burden.

The victim is concerned about unexpectedly encountering Black in Camden if he is allowed to stay in town during the expected two-week trial, Fernald said.

Black’s attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, stressed that his client has adhered to terms of his bail for three years. Black has been living out of state and if he is not allowed to stay with a friend, a retired physician who lives on Knowlton Street, then he will have to stay in a hotel during the trial, McKee said.

McKee said the place where Black hoped to stay was across town from the alleged victim’s residence.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin July 14.

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, Black and his wife 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.

His wife 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.

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.

Black and the alleged victim have since divorced.

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