Man gets life without parole for shooting Charleston police officer

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A man has been sentenced to life without parole after he was found guilty of attempted murder in the shooting of a Charleston police officer.

On Thursday night, a jury found Mark Blake Jr. guilty of attempted murder in the March 13, 2013 shooting of former CPD officer Cory Goldstein.

The judge sentenced Blake to life under the three strikes law as Blake was previously convicted of drug charges.

According to authorities, Blake shot Goldstein after Goldstein made a traffic stop in West Ashley.

Blake claimed self defense in the shooting.

He also acted as his own attorney in the trial, and had a public defender at his side.

Blake takes stand, calls witnesses

On Thursday afternoon, Blake took to the stand in his own defense and gave his testimony in court where he claimed he shot Goldstein in self defense.

Blake recalled the night of the incident and said he felt something wasn’t right when a police officer stopped behind him at a Best Buy parking lot. He said after leaving the business his car ended up crashing at a ramp, and then he jumped over the railing.

He told jurors that it was dark outside and he couldn’t see who the person was that was yelling at him to stop as he was running down a ramp. Blake said his concern was just running to safety.

Blake testified that he heard shots going off and was hit him on his right leg. Blake said as he went down, he turned and shot “blind fire” behind him. He said he tried getting up and fell again.

When he turned around and tried sitting up Blake said he was hit on his left arm, and it was only after that he saw the person who was chasing him was a police officer.

Prosecutor Stephanie Linder read the definition of self defense to the jurors, saying that to claim self defense he has to be without fault.

Blake told the jury he was not looking for trouble that night, and was in a rental car on his way to get a drink.

Blake also called witnesses to talk about his reputation.

Officer takes stand

Goldstein, who no longer works for the Charleston Police Department, took the stand Tuesday 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.

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.

Investigators: Traffic stop led to shooting

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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