February 14, 2005

Blackwell's attorney seeks mistrial over testimony

Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 14, 2005, 3:05 PM EST
The defense attorney for Maurice Blackwell twice today asked the judge to declare a mistrial, as two detectives made references from the witness stand to "other victims" of the defrocked Baltimore priest.

Blackwell, 58, is charged with four counts of sexual child abuse for allegedly molesting Dontee Stokes, a one-time altar boy at St. Edwards Catholic Church who later shot Blackwell.

Stokes alleges the abuse happened between 1989 and 1992, when he was a teenager. He reported the abuse in 1993, at age 17, but prosecutors declined to press charges. In May 2002, in the midst of the national scandal involving Catholic priests, Stokes confronted Blackwell on a street near where they both lived and shot him three times.

After the shooting, prosecutors reviewed Stokes' allegations and charged Blackwell. Stokes, 29, was acquitted of attempted murder in December 2002.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger today denied Kenneth W. Ravenell's request for a mistrial but admonished the witnesses -- and Assistant State's Attorney Jo Anne Stanton -- for statements made on the stand.

Posted by kshaw at February 14, 2005 02:26 PM