Two jury trials and one state-filed dismissal later, a U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2 nd Class has been cleared of all charges accusing him of assaulting and sexually abusing of a 4-year-old boy.
Assistant District Attorney Amanda Browning filed on Thursday paperwork to dismiss the three charges against John R. Blackman Jr., 32, of Soldotna, that remained following the trials where he was acquitted of other charges.
“(Blackman’s) very grateful that the state used its power to finally clear his name,” Public Defender Andy Pevehouse wrote in an email.
Blackman was originally charged in March 2012 with four counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of second-degree assault, three counts of third-degree assault and one count of tampering with evidence.
Pevehouse recently filed multiple motions requesting dismissal of the three remaining charges, two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree assault.
A renewed motion to dismiss the two sexual abuse charges due to insufficient evidence was filed on Oct. 7. In the motion the defense argues that the conduct Blackman was accused of, hurting the 4-year-old’s genitals with his hand, was not sexual contact.
The other two motions called for directed verdict or dismissal of the three counts for violation of the double jeopardy clause, which prohibits a defendant from being tried twice for the same offense. An Oct. 7 dated motion also addressed the two sexual abuse of a minor charges. The third-degree assault charge was addressed in the a motion dated Oct. 4.
In the double jeopardy motions, the defense writes the charges are identical to other charges Blackman was acquitted of after trail. The defense acknowledges that the state’s intent to have some counts pertain to a January injury and the others to a February injury, however it was not clear which counts applied to which injuries.
Pevehouse wrote in an email that the double jeopardy issues was part of the reason the state dismissed the remaining charges, but he thinks the bigger issue was the remaining charges had a hung jury vote of 11 to 1 in favor of acquitting Blackman following the second trial.
“After two full trials, I believe the state realized John Blackman was actually innocent,” Pevehouse said.
Prosecution dismissed the evidence tampering charge in August 2012.
In a June trial, the jury found Blackman not guilty of one count of second-degree assault that accused him of holding the boy’s head under water in a bathtub. It could not reach a decision on the seven other counts.
Blackman was tried again on the remaining counts at a trial that began at the end of September. On Oct. 1, the jury found the coastguardsman not guilty of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of third-degree assault. It was hung on the rest of the charges, which the state has now dismissed.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.