Trial begins for man charged in 2013 shooting of Charleston police officer
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The man accused of shooting a Charleston Police officer after a 2013 traffic stop told a jury during opening arguments that he will prove he acted in self-defense.
Mark Blake, Jr., faces up to 30 years in prison for attempted murder in the March 13, 2013, shooting of Charleston Police officer Cory Goldstein.
Goldstein, who no longer works for the Charleston Police Department, took the stand to recount the night of the shooting. He told the jury that during the foot chase, Blake kept looking over his shoulder to see how close Goldstein was to him.
He said that after Blake had stopped, he ordered Blake not to move, and Blake responded, "You don't move [expletive]," and opened fire.
Goldstein said he was struck in the chest first, backed off and returned fire. At one point, Blake was firing from the ground, Goldstein said.
Late Tuesday, Blake had the chance to cross-examine the officer he is accused of trying to kill.
Blake is acting as his own lawyer in the case, but does have a public defender at his side in case he wants legal advice.
Prosecutor Stephanie Linder said during her opening arguments that on the night of the shooting, Goldstein "showed restraint and reason." Blake, she said, disregarded two stop signs then made a turn without signalling and refused to stop for blue lights. She said Goldstein turned off his blue lights because of the volume of the traffic in the area and radioed to other officers that Blake did not stop.
Blake crashed into a guardrail on the I-526 on-ramp and ran from the car armed with a gun, Linder said. Goldstein went after Blake on foot, yelling for him to stop, she said.
Linder told the court that when Goldstein closed the gap, Blake stopped, but when Goldstein told him, "don't move," Blake told the officer not to move and fired 10 shots at Goldstein. Goldstein fired after Blake ran out of bullets, hitting him, she said.
Blake then told the jury he is not obligated to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt and will prove he acted in self-defense.
Once jury selection was completed Tuesday morning, Judge William Kelsey told the jury to avoid social media and to not listen to any news reports about the case..
Blake argued with Judge William Kelsey during pre-trial motions, at one point telling Kelsey he was making no sense. Blake also challenged the indictment against him, claiming that based on the officer’s injuries, he shouldn’t have been charged with attempted murder.
Prosecutor Stephanie Linder told the judge the indictment is appropriate because the charge is based on intent.
The judge denied Blake’s motion to block testimony that Blake refused to stop for a blue light prior to the shooting. The judge did grant one of Blake’s motions, saying the jury would not be allowed to hear that the handgun Blake allegedly used was stolen. Lindler told the court the gun was stolen from a home in Berkeley County but that she did not believe Blake was the person who stole the gun.
Prosecutors say Blake shot Goldstein after Goldstein made a traffic stop in West Ashley. Both Blake and Goldstein were wounded in the incident. An affidavit released by SLED states the traffic stop happened at the entrance ramp to I-526 from Savannah Highway where Goldstein stopped Blake’s Hyundai Elantra. Police said Blake then took off on foot and while running away stopped and turned to face the Goldstein, pointed a black Glock 22 and fired several shots at the officer. Blake wounded Goldstein several times in the chest, arm and leg, while Goldstein wounded Blake in the arm and leg, the affidavit states. The foot chase ended behind the Comfort Suites on Savannah Highway.
At the time of the shooting, Blake was free on bail on drug charges. He has been awaiting trial since the incident and has been in prison but was previously convicted on drug charges in June 2016.
Prosecutors are hoping to use the two prior drug convictions to get a life sentence under the three strikes law.
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