Man convicted of shooting three EHT officers loses last appeal

A man convicted of shooting at three Egg Harbor Township officers in 2006 will have to live to be 100 to have a chance of ever seeing freedom.
Christopher Blank, who turns 40 in August, lost his final appeal in federal court, where the Federal District Court found he was given a fair trial.
Blank was wanted on outstanding warrants when Egg Harbor Township police pulled him over July 13, 2006.
The township man fled Officers Christopher Leary and Clear Costantino, who chased him down.
During the struggle, Blank was able to get hold of Costantino’s gun, using it to shoot her three times and Leary once.
Leary’s vest saved him, but Costantino underwent major surgery and eventually left the department.
Officer William Loder responded to the scene and engaged in a shootout with Blank. Loder was not struck. A wounded Blank fled into the woods, where he escaped capture for several hours before he was apprehended by a K-9 dog.
Blank testified at his trial that he was handcuffed to a chainlink fence and being beaten by Leary and Costantino when the gun fell to the ground. He claimed that he fired the gun in an attempt to shoot himself off the fence, not to wound the officers.
A jury convicted him on all counts.
But Blank claimed his attorney was constitutionally ineffective, that the court erred by not allowing the jury to vote on lesser offenses and that a request by the jury to remove a trigger lock for the gun used in the assaults should have been allowed.
“Petitioner has failed to make a substantial showing that he was denied a constitutional right,” the federal court ruled.
Blank is currently eligible for parole on Oct. 10, 2078, two months and a week after his 100th birthday.

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