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Johnston magistrate not guilty of threatening suspect

Posted February 21, 2012

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— A Johnston County magistrate was acquitted Tuesday of threatening to shoot and kill a crime suspect last fall.

The State Bureau of Investigation charged Sam Blake Jr. last month with communicating threats, and authorities said the incident occurred while he was on duty in October.

David Pearson said that, when Blake learned he had been arrested in his neighborhood on drug possession charges, Blake threatened his life.

"He said that was his street, and if he caught me over there or on his property, that he would shoot and kill me," Pearson testified during a brief trial Tuesday. "I asked him if that was a threat, and he said, 'No, that's a promise.'"

Pearson said he fears Blake so much that he now avoids visiting relatives in that neighborhood.

"He is a law enforcement officer. To me, I figure he can carry a gun around, and he's probably been trained with that weapon," he said of Blake.

Jeffery Johnson, a Johnston County detention officer, testified that he heard Blake threaten Pearson.

Blake said he never threatened to kill Pearson. He said he only warned him that neighbors in the community where he was arrested were concerned about a rise in crime.

Johnston County Magistrate Sam Blake Jr. Magistrate denies issuing threat, found not guilty

"I said they may start shooting because they put up with it for a long time now," he said. "I said, as a citizen, I may shoot to protect my property as well. He said, 'Is that a threat?' and I said, 'No, I promise I may shoot to protect my property.'"

The District Court judge who heard the case said there were too many conflicting stories to convince him beyond a reasonable doubt that Blake was guilty.

Blake has remained on the job despite the charge and a string of documented complaints against him over the last 10 years.

Law enforcement officers, co-workers and citizens have accused Blake of lacking professionalism, behaving rudely and publicly calling other magistrates racist in complaints dating back to 2002.

A woman recently petitioned for Blake to lose his job over making rude comments, but a judge denied that.

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  • Mr. E Feb 23, 2012

    I am a former LEO in Johnston County and I can say from my encounters with Mr Blake that he is very unprofessional and very rude. He talked trash to a few of my arestees when I brought them before him. He would always have a nasty attitude towards arestees and sometimes LEO's. I would dread seeing him behind the glass in the jail due to my negative encounters with him. Mr Blake does not conduct himself the way a judicial official should on and off the job. I have seen him in public driving in his Cadillac, seat back, and bass thumping. People know who he is and they do watch him. I feel he should have been disciplined somehow. When I saw this article, I laughed and it certainly did not surprise me one bit.

  • bitemedoughboy Feb 23, 2012

    Election time is coming and a certain clerk of court and a few judges may wish they had acted differently in this case when that time comes. I hope they're all voted out of office once and for all.

  • flipper59 Feb 22, 2012

    """You cannot mess with the system !!"""

    X2

  • trainloadr Feb 22, 2012

    We all know why he was found not guilty. Let's not fool ourselves about Johnston county. Corbett does not have a set, plain and simple.

  • bigal02282 Feb 22, 2012

    NCcarguy applauds his conduct. But I bet he'd be squealing a different story if he had to appear before this magistrate or any other that acted in this manner or unprofessionally at all. When you have LEO's stating that he is unprofessional, then you have a serious problem.

  • rcrdngcountry Feb 22, 2012

    he has had too many complants. when you work dealing with the public,
    no matter what your position, there is no need to be rude to everyone
    it don't take any more effort to be professional than it does to be
    hatefull. some people feel they are above other people. i am not
    talking about this case, i am just saying what has been said of his
    past.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Feb 22, 2012

    I thought this story was totally about something else...glad I read it. I actually applaud him if he was successful in getting rid of a drug dealer in his neighborhood!!! Good job!

  • abylelab -BT- Feb 22, 2012

    ++and as far as this case is concerned i'm amazed you all are whinning that he threatened a thief....who cares??? really.... maybe that thief will go rob you now that he is scared of sam blakes neiborhood....
    ccacrabbitdog++

    an alleged thief. and, the problem isn't just this case, the man has harassed dozens of innocent people going to the magistrate's office for help.

    like it or not, it is illegal to threaten people. actually, i don't like it either, it is an effective way to get your point across. another man in this position, with an officer and a witness with corroborating stories would have been found guilty. it's a sad day in lady justice's house.

  • Rebelyell55 Feb 22, 2012

    Well it looks like it for some guild lines on qualification for hold this type of job.

  • ccacrabbitdog Feb 22, 2012

    i wish some of you would stop putting the attys, magistrates and judges in the same boat as law enforcement....police do their jobs (i.e. he was charged) the problem is the courts... more than half of the evidence never makes it to trial becuase of all the silly rules (i.e. someone found not guilty because a block was not checked on a piece of paper).............and as far as this case is concerned i'm amazed you all are whinning that he threatened a thief....who cares??? really.... maybe that thief will go rob you now that he is scared of sam blakes neiborhood....

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