Black case headed for jury selection July 14

State seeks to introduce evidence of attempted poisoning

By Juliette Laaka | Jul 10, 2014
Photo by: File photo Charles Black.

Rockland — The assistant district attorney prosecuting a case of attempted murder is asking evidence to be allowed at the trial pertaining to allegations the defendant attempted to poison his former wife, who was the victim of a head bashing and shove off Maiden Cliff while hiking with him in 2011.

The defendant, Charles Reed Black, 71, has denied the charges against him and told police he had passed out and hit her head with his when he fell, according to the police affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald filed a motion July 7 in Knox Court Superior Court to allow a witness form Missouri to testify she overheard Black and another woman state that if they had gotten the dosage right, Black would not be in the trouble he is now. The pair was talking about injecting a wine cork with valium and then serving the wine to Black's former wife. This conversation occurred in August 2012, according to the motion.

The victim is expected to testify Black attempted to poison her on several occasions prior to the April 2011 incident on Maiden Cliff, one of these times includes the woman the witness overheard speaking with Black about drug dosages. The woman was staying with the Blacks before the couple went on a trip abroad, said the motion.

Black, of Utah, will not be allowed to stay in Camden during his two-week trial. A motion to amend his bail to allow him to stay in Camden with a friend was denied June 24 by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm in Knox County Superior Court.

The victim lives in Camden, and Black's bail conditions bar him from being in Camden.

Black was initially charged with aggravated assault and is accused of striking his wife in the head with a rock, dragging her body to the edge of Maiden Cliff and pushing her over while the two were hiking in Camden Hills State Park, according to court documents. In July 2011, he was indicted by the grand jury for six criminal offenses, including attempted murder, arising from the alleged incident.

The victim was injured, but managed to climb down the mountain to get help and was hospitalized for several days. The initial aggravated assault charge against her husband came after she filed for a protection from abuse order against Black in which she claimed he tried to kill her.

In an affidavit filed in court by police, the victim said there were several other incidents involving her husband that made her feel as if he had been trying to kill her. According to the affidavit, a couple of weeks prior to the Maiden Cliff incident, Black climbed a ladder to the attic and, while she was at the bottom of the ladder, he fell down on top of her. Black told his wife he passed out, according to the court documents.

She also told a detective she inherited $4 million when her father died, and Black had been taking her money without her permission, according to the affidavit. She also told the detective her husband contacted an old girlfriend in Arizona and the two had been having an online affair. Police were also told the two had been having marital problems and had been to counseling.

Jury selection is scheduled for Monday, July 14.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at jlaaka@villagesoup.com.

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Juliette Laaka
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Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

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