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Husband found guilty of pushing wife off 800 foot cliff

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A married couple from Kansas who retired from teaching and moved to Maine ended up in court after the husband was accused of bashing his wife in the head with a rock and pushing her off an 800 foot cliff following accusations of marital infidelity and arguments over a $4 million inheritance. On July 21, the 71-year-old husband, Charles Black, was found guilty in a Maine courtroom on six felony counts associated with pushing his 55-year-old wife, Lisa Zahn, over Maiden’s Cliff in Camden, Maine, in April 2011.

According to The Seattle Times, problems first began for the two retired teachers after they relocated to Camden and Black had an extra-marital affair with an Arizona woman. The couple’s marital woes escalated over arguments which focused on how Black was spending inheritance money that came from Zahn’s father. The unfaithful husband had been spending that inheritance money and not consulting his wife about it or seeking her permission.

Things went from bad to worse as prosecutors in the case against Black argued that on that fateful day in 2011, he “hit his wife on the head with a rock before pushing her off 800-foot Maiden Cliff.” Zahn testified in court that she was “hit three times on the head before being pulled to the cliff's edge." Maiden's Cliff is a natural rock outcropping formation overlooking Maine’s Megunticook Lake and part of Camden Hills State Park.

Even though Black was the one doing the pushing, both he and his wife went over the cliff, survived, and then spent over a week in the hospital. Black and Zahn divorced in 2013 after having been married for nine years.

Zahn said she believed he was pursuing her down the mountain, while Black told investigators that he had no memory of hitting her or pushing her off the cliff. He told police that he'd collected two rocks while they were on the mountaintop with the thinking that they'd toss them over the cliff, symbolizing getting rid of baggage and hoping for a fresh start.

According to Newsday, Black, who did not testify at his trial, was ultimately found guilty on one count of attempted murder, two counts of elevated aggravated assault and three counts of aggravated assault. The convicted husband could be looking at life in prison. His trial date for sentencing has not yet been set.

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