BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — A beating last year that, but for the intervention of a roommate, could have turned fatal, has landed a Salem man in jail for 21/2 years.
Mark Blackburn, 50, formerly of 72 Bridge St., pleaded guilty yesterday in Salem Superior Court to charges that included assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of assault and battery. He received the sentence as part of a plea agreement that saw two more serious counts, attempted murder and assault and battery resulting in serious bodily injury, dropped by prosecutors.
Police were called to Blackburn’s apartment by a neighbor who heard two men yelling and a woman crying in the hallway on Sept. 2, 2012, according to a police report.
“I am going to (expletive) kill you,” Blackburn allegedly yelled at his then-girlfriend. “This is all your fault.”
Police said Blackburn blamed the victim for the fact that another man he’d invited to the house for sexual activity had left.
The victim was still shaking and crying hysterically, covered in bruises and scratches on her face and neck, when police found her outside the house, according to the report.
But for the intervention of Blackburn’s roommate when he arrived home, the woman told police she believed she would have died that night.
Blackburn had thrown her onto a bed, striking her head against the headboard, then began strangling and punching her repeatedly.
As the roommate pounded on the bedroom door, telling Blackburn to stop, Blackburn yelled out, “It’s none of your business, hotshot, back off.”
When the roommate managed to intervene, Blackburn allegedly turned on him, police said.
According to the police report, the roommate suffered cuts to his arm and leg during an altercation. As the two men scuffled, the girlfriend was able to run out of the apartment.
Then, as police knocked repeatedly on the door in response to the neighbor’s 911 call, Blackburn told the roommate not to answer the door.
Police eventually forced their way into the apartment and arrested Blackburn, whom they described as heavily intoxicated. The girlfriend, who at the time was feared to have suffered a miscarriage, was taken to the hospital.
Prosecutor Jessica Strasnick said yesterday that the ex-girlfriend’s main concern is that Blackburn receive treatment for his issues and stay away from her.
In addition to the 21/2-year jail term, Blackburn will spend three years on probation after his release, with conditions that include a batterer’s treatment program, alcohol and drug treatment, random tests for both, and a psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
He has also been ordered to stay away from the woman and have no contact with her.
Judge David Lowy accepted the agreement between Strasnick and defense attorney Joseph Collins yesterday but warned Blackburn that if he violates even one condition of his probation, he faces up to five more years in jail.
Blackburn has already spent about 15 months in jail, making him eligible for parole almost immediately because he’s served half of his 30-month sentence.
Blackburn had been arrested two months earlier, in July 2012, on charges stemming from another alleged assault on the same woman in June. But when the woman declined to cooperate with prosecutors, the charges were dismissed.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.