Man who shot at two Egg Harbor cops in 2006 denied appeal in U.S. Circuit Court

////

MAYS LANDING- Christopher Blank who was sentenced to 85 years in prison for the shooting of two Egg Harbor Township police officers during a 2006 motor vehicle stop has been denied his latest appeal by the United States 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in a written opinion issued on March 30, 2020.

In 2008, an Atlantic County jury found Blank, 42, guilty of attempted murder, assault and related charges and he was sentenced to 85 years in New Jersey state prison. He’s been appealing the case in the State and Federal courts ever since.

“This case demonstrates the significant danger that police officers encounter during ordinary traffic stops.  I am thankful for the courage and bravery Officers Leary, Constantino, and Loder.  We owe them a debt of gratitude for protecting us,” said Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner.

In Blank’s latest appeal, he claimed that the trial judge, the Honorable Michael Donio, J.S.C. denied him a fair trial by refusing the jury’s request, during deliberations, to remove a safety device attached to the gun used in the shooting. Atlantic County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Mario C. Formica represented the state in this matter. The 3rd Circuit Court rejected that claim, citing federal precedent that gives trial courts broad discretion in the handling of exhibits.  The Court further noted that Judge Donio did allow “the jury relatively generous access to exhibits, sending the firearm, holster, and ammunition to the jury room.”   And finally, the Court observed that during the 2008 trial, “the State called an expert witness who demonstrated how the specific firearm used in the shooting could be removed from the specific belt worn by the police officer, and Blank’s counsel directly challenged that expert’s testimony and conclusions on cross-examination.”


“I am very pleased with the Court’s opinion as it represents yet another judicial imprimatur that the defendant received a fair trial, and that he was justly convicted and sentenced for his vicious attack on 3 brave police officers,” said Atlantic County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Mario C. Formica.

Blank was a passenger in a car driven by his girlfriend on July 13, 2006, when Egg Harbor Township Officer Christopher Leary stopped the vehicle just after midnight. When Leary learned Blank was wanted on a warrant, he called for backup and Officer Clear Costantino arrived on the scene. As Leary tried to handcuff Blank, he broke free and ran toward a nearby vacant house. In the yard of that home officers caught up with Blank, who struggled with them before pulling the gun from Costantino’s holster and shooting her in the abdomen and thigh. Blank also shot Leary in the chest, but that officer’s bulletproof vest protected him from serious injury.  Officer William Loder confronted Blank a short time later and ordered him to drop the gun, but Blank fired back, missing Loder by inches. Loder then returned fire and wounded Blank in the arm.  After Blank ran off, he was captured hours later with the help of a police K-9.

Blank is currently serving his time in New Jersey state prison. Source: Atlantic City County Prosecutor’s Office.

More Atlantic County News

12-year-old stabbed and killed Atlantic City Boardwalk Souvenir Shop Owner ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – A group of teenage thugs were harassing customers and employees at an Atlantic City Boardwalk store, eventually stabbing and killing the owner. The incident happened at City Souvenirs The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Atlantic City Police Department are actively investigating the death of a 66 year-old man Thursday night. … Read more

Who are the healthiest people in New Jersey? New Study answers the question TRENTON, NJ – Have you ever wondered who the healthiest residents are in New Jersey? You might think they’re hiding out at the Jersey Shore or maybe living an active lifestyle in the cities around the state. A new study by Robert Wood Johnson shows exactly who the healthiest county in the state is. The … Read more

ICONA Resorts purchases the Windrift Hotel in Avalon AVALON, NJ – ICONA Resorts announced that it has purchased the Windrift Hotel, the oceanfront resort adjacent to ICONA Avalon, built and owned by the Buckingham and Diller families since 1967. With this acquisition, ICONA Resorts now owns and operates the largest oceanfront resorts in Avalon and Stone Harbor. The Windrift joins ICONA’s portfolio of award-winning hotels including ICONA Avalon, ICONA Cape … Read more

Philadelphia man charged after shots fired in Atlantic City ATLANTIC CITY – On March 28, 2021, a ShotSpotter alert resulted in the arrest of a man and the recovery of a handgun. At 10:03 pm, Officers Adrian Nunez-Santos and Brandon Bower responded to the 100 north block of Morris Avenue in reference to a ShotSpotter alert that registered one gunshot being fired. The officers … Read more

Murphy loosens chokehold on outdoor gatherings…just a little bit TRENTON- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has released his chokehold on the New Jersey public, but just slightly, when it comes to outdoor gatherings.  Murphy signed Executive Order No. 234, which will increase outdoor gathering limits and increase capacity for seated events at large venues. The Order also clarifies indoor capacity limits for banquet halls … Read more

Attributions in this article: Map data ©2019 Google, Photo © BigStock Photos. Hand out photos courtesy of reporting agency. Press releases are the intellectual property of the issuing agency or corporation. Please report any photo, copyright or intellectual property violations to news@shorewsnetwork.com.

Latest from Atlantic County News