Jamaican Horace Blackwood found not guilty of rape in Maine,USA:”I can’t afford to get pregnant, get a STD from a black man” she said

I read this story and found it very interesting. I am not proclaiming innocence or guilt just that it makes for interesting reading, what do you think?

ELLSWORTH — A Jamaican summer worker accused of an August 2007 sexual assault in Bar Harbor was acquitted of all charges following a three-day trial last week in Hancock County Superior Court.

Horace Blackwood, 26, of Hanover, Jamaica, had been charged with two counts of gross sexual assault (class A and class B) and burglary.

After four hours of deliberation on Oct. 16, a jury of eight women and four men found Blackwood not guilty on all three charges.

Blackwood and the woman he was accused of sexually assaulting were both employed in Bar Harbor during the summer of 2007 by Lafayette Hotels. They lived in employee housing on Maple Avenue, Blackwood in a second-floor apartment, the woman in the ground-floor apartment of the same building.

Blackwood and the woman both took the stand to testify during the trial.

The woman, who was 18 at the time of the incident, testified that she had attended a Jamaican Independence Day party with some friends, became drunk and walked home with two of the friends. Once at her apartment, she became ill and a female friend helped her into bed.

She told the court she awoke to find a man on top of her engaged in a sex act. Bursting into tears, she described how she was unable to fend off the assault.

“He had my blanket over his head so I couldn’t see his face,” she said. “He was too big for me to get off. I couldn’t move him.”

The woman testified that she believed her attacker was black from seeing his hands and arms but remembers little else because she passed out.

After waking later that morning, the woman telephoned a friend, saying she had been sexually assaulted during the night. On the friend’s advice, she walked to a Bar Harbor pharmacy and obtained a morning after emergency contraception pill, which she took. She then gathered up the clothes she had been wearing and went to the emergency room at Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, where a nurse administered a rape evidence kit and police were notified of the assault.

DNA evidence collected at the hospital later implicated Blackwood.

In his testimony, Blackwood stated that the sex between the two was consensual. He claimed she was among several people who would socialize on the balcony of his apartment, drinking and smoking marijuana.

“That’s how the flirting started,” he said. “She wanted to hook up with me after the party.”

Blackwood, whose wife and two children remained in Jamaica while he came to Maine to work, said he and the woman agreed to keep the tryst a secret. He said he met her at her apartment after the party and engaged in sex.

“Everything was going great,”

Until the condom he was using broke, he said. At that point, the woman became extremely upset.

“She said, ‘I can’t afford to get pregnant, get a STD [sexually transmitted disease], from a black man,’” Blackwood said.

“I couldn’t calm her down. I said OK, I’m going to leave.”

Continuing his testimony, Blackwood said he went to his apartment, slept and went to work around 7 a.m. That afternoon, around 3:30 p.m., he received a phone call on his cell phone from Officer Tim Bland of the Bar Harbor Police Department, asking him to come to the station to be interviewed about an assault.

Blackwood agreed to come to the police station but never showed up for the interview. Instead, he went to his bank, which is within 200 yards of the police station, withdrew $1,200 and went back home.

In his testimony, he said he withdrew the money in case he had to bail himself out of jail. He said he was about to go to the police station but received a disturbing phone call.

“I got a call saying the cousin I grew up with was murdered by a cop in Jamaica,”

The call provoked a violent reaction, he claimed.

“I throw away the phone and break it into pieces,” he said.

He said he then asked a friend to call a taxi for a ride to the airport to go back home to Jamaica. The taxi driver testified he had picked up a Jamaican man from the Maple Avenue apartment and dropped him off at K-Mart in Bangor.

Police did not see or hear from Blackwood again until February, when the FBI located him at his father’s home in New Jersey.

Blackwood claimed he did not get on a flight because he had learned that his passport had been “flagged” by police following the missed interview.

During his closing arguments, District Attorney Michael Povich, who prosecuted the case, told the jury that, with the DNA evidence, Blackwood was left with only one defense: The sex was consensual.

The testimony from the woman and from Blackwood differs greatly, Povich continued.

“You cannot reconcile what [she] told you under oath and what Blackwood told you under oath,” Povich said.

He asked the jury to consider what motive the woman might have to lie.

Povich implored the jury to not be swayed by facts unrelated to the assault.

“This is not about underage drinking. It’s not about marijuana — pot-smoking,” he said, explaining those behaviors are part of the youth culture. “You are judging the rape. Please stay within the crime committed.”

Povich also attempted to poke holes in Blackwood’s testimony, particularly his explanation for leaving town at the same time police wanted to talk to him about the assault.

Blackwood stated the only reason he left town was to go to Jamaica because his cousin was murdered, Povich began.

“And he’s dropped off at K-Mart, not at Bangor International Airport, not at Continental Trailways, not at Greyhound, but K-Mart.”

During Blackwood’s testimony, he claimed he left personal items behind in Bar Harbor because he planned to return. But, he didn’t, despite the opportunity to do so, Povich told jurors. Blackwood was gone for more than six months, only to be located by the FBI in New Jersey.

In his closing argument, Blackwood’s attorney, Jeff Toothaker, called attention to what he said were inconsistencies in the woman’s testimony. He contrasted her statements with those of his client.

“It’s a case of credibility really,” Toothaker told jurors.

The woman said she did not smoke marijuana; she said she did not see Blackwood at the party, Toothaker pointed out. Yet Joshua Forcier, a witness for the defense, testified that she did smoke marijuana and speak with Blackwood at the party.

And a urine test showed she had smoked marijuana sometime during the time period of the alleged assault, he continued.

Toothaker told jurors the charges against his client stemmed from racial and socioeconomic differences. The woman had just graduated from Hampden Academy in Hampden, her parents are reasonably well off and she and her friends all attend elite colleges, he explained.

“She hangs around with people who do stuff and are on the move,” he said. “My guy’s from Jamaica and works for $8 an hour. He’s low in income potential.

“They had sex and the condom broke. Imagine what feelings that would have on a woman who was being prepped for life,” Toothaker continued. “I think what she was really worried about was pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”

Toothaker said differences in the legal process in Jamaica and the United States might have contributed to Blackwood’s decision to leave the area.

“He is a black man in a white country, He is on his own here…and he has to take his own steps.”

Toothaker said.

In his rebuttal, Povich told jurors the marijuana issue was a “red herring.” Regarding the question about smoking pot, he said, the woman was asked if she smoked the drug on the day of the assault — not in general.

“This is not a case of race. This is a case of rape,” Povich said. “Justice is color blind. Justice is blind. It comes down to credibility.”

“Don’t get sidetracked by little inconsistencies,” he urged the jury.

On Friday, Toothaker said he thought the jury found Blackwood’s testimony to be more believable.

“He was more consistent in his story than she was,” he said. “Little inconsistencies during the trial become big inconsistencies later.”

Blackwood will probably be back in Jamaica by the end of the week, Toothaker said.

Nuff respect to the The Ellsworth American for a well written piece. ( The Jamaica Observer and the The Jamaica Gleaner take note)

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~ by RB on October 24, 2008.

14 Responses to “Jamaican Horace Blackwood found not guilty of rape in Maine,USA:”I can’t afford to get pregnant, get a STD from a black man” she said”

  1. Interesting case!!

  2. this whole thing sound fishy.
    he runs, never gets on the plane and is found 6 months later in jersey. and he didnt get convicted? damn he must have the new johnny cochrane as his lawyer.

  3. What’s up Dutty?!

    This is off topic but here is Usain on Real Sport with Bryant Gumbel this past week:

  4. I think there are inconsistencies in both their stories. Look at the woman who claim a BLACK MAN attacked her at the ATM and carved a B in her face. A story all made up. I am not saying that is some cases it may not be true.

    I think the jury made the right decision. She said it was a black man based on his hands, she said she never saw his face because he had a blanket over his head.

  5. Reading just the article, I am surprised he was found not guilty in Maine — after essentially being a fugitive.

    But mi neva know cause mi neva dey da.

    With regards to the article quality — isn’t it amazing how a place with looser libel laws produces consistently more accurate journalism than the place where restrictive libel laws are enforced? We’re told the restrictive libel laws should ensure that JA newspapers and journos work harder to get it right given the harsh potential penalties; but the proof is in the pudding.

  6. diatribalist as you said the proof is in the pudding.

  7. it really does come down to case of credibility, and while it sounds like blackwood have more to hide than a potential rape, this is about rape and nothing else. he was upfront about the sex, and claimed it was consensual. she claim nuttin nuh guh suh. he has witness saying she blaze and hang out with him, she lies about that. that is the crux of the matter. she lied about how close she was to him, to make it seem less likely that she would consent to having sex with him. but if you smoke a man weed, and par wid a man, then turn round and lie bout being close to the man, then why wouldnt you lie a step further?

  8. This article was definitely an example of good journalism and of good training; Jamaican journalists hide behind the libel laws as well. If they do their jobs well, then it is difficult to discredit the work.

    On the other hand, this article does show the hidden “treats” awaiting Jamaican men who go to work in these resort towns. Of course, they don’t tell their wives or girlfriends that this is part of the “experience”.

    Me tink seh im wife fi divorce im rass. Wha’ im deh a ‘Merica a screw round wid drunk gyal fo’? Eeeh? Im get ketch, and wedda or not im guilty of rape, im commit an offense ‘gainz ‘im relationship dat im need fi go deal wid. Probably carry ‘ome some disease go gi ‘ar, cause im probably nuh w’aa use condom wid wifey. Dem man jus’ too dam likky-likky.

  9. Longbench-these type of long distance relationship if even for a short period of time often leads to cheating but what I find stupid is when the cheater does not protect ones self, not that cheating is condoned but at least be safe. At least this guy was taking that part seriously.

  10. DB – Yes, I hear you. However, its not the long distance relationship that leads to cheating, its the attitude of so many Jamaican men that all (and especially w’te ooman) pumpum is free for the taking, and if it a gi weh, den yuh mus’ affi tek it. Is one ting fi ‘arrive at an understanding in one’s relationship about the possibility of multiple sex partners besides the marital partner. Is a ‘ole nedda ting fi ave man impose dis pon ooman as if fi seh ooman nuh ‘ave no choice but fi deal wid it an shut up. That is the kind of disrespect that is built into relationships, but does not need to be. I don’t think every extramarital affair should lead to divorce, but when dem ya man feel seh ah dem right fi sleep roun’, den yes, she fi divorce im rass!

  11. well everything out in the light now so his wife will make a decision to stay to leave him. Life is not easy at all, so many complexities

  12. Only they know the truth

  13. lesson to white women in america.don’t smoke weed or mess with dirty,black-ass jungle bunnys from third world countries.we have enough problems with the ones here now always trying to f**k white women

  14. […] Jamaican Horace Blackwood found not guilty of rape in Maine,USA:”I can’t afford to get pregnant,… […]

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