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Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Burglary and Sexual Assault

by on July 20, 2015 10:45 AM

A Maryland man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her State College apartment last March pleaded guilty on Thursday, according to a news release from the district attorney's office.

Justin Blake, 22, allegedly broke into a University Drive apartment on March 2, 2014, at around midnight while visiting friends for State Patty's Day.

He entered a bedroom where the victim was sleeping alone, according to police, and sexually assaulted her while saying things like "say you love me" and "you're mine." 

The victim was able to fend off Blake and call police for help. Officers found Blake, who matched the description provided, across the street from the apartment, and they matched his DNA to the victim. 

At a plea hearing on July 16, Blake entered guilty pleas for felony charges of burglary, trespass, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault, along with a misdemeanor charge of indecent assault. A rape charge, which the district attorney's office says is covered by the sexual assault charge, will be withdrawn at sentencing.

A sentencing date for Blake has not yet been set, but he was remanded to the Centre County Correctional Facility without bail, where he will be evaluated by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to determine if he qualifies as a sexually violent predator.

“We had a strong case and were ready for trial but anytime a person is willing to plead guilty and a victim is spared reliving his or her attack in the courtroom, it is an optimal outcome," district attorney Stacy Parks Miller says in a statement. "We will be seeking an appropriate tough sentence that reflects the callous nature of such a stranger attack, where a young woman’s home is invaded and she is sexually assaulted in her own bedroom."

Blake's case is embroiled in the middle of a Centre County court drama, as right-to-know requests filed by his attorney led to Parks Miller and district judge Kelley Gillette-Walker suing the county. 

Sean McGraw, Blake's lawyer, attempted to argue that bias within the Centre County court system worked against his client, using phone and text records he obtained to try and prove misconduct. The records show communications between Parks Miller, Gillette-Walker, former assistant district attorney Nathan Boob, and judge Bradley Lunsford on days of Blake's court proceedings.

The charges, however, were not dismissed and judge Stewart Kurtz, who is specially presiding over the two lawsuits, issued an injunction stating that the county had no right to release the records. 

McGraw also attempted to have Parks Miller removed from the case, arguing that the lawsuit she filed against the county, which lists McGraw's law firm as a co-defendant, brings a conflict of interest to the table. That motion was denied after Parks Miller argued that no bias exists because the suit was filed against the attorneys, not Blake himself.

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Zach Berger is the managing editor of StateCollege.com. He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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