An Alamogordo district attorney appointed as special prosecutor to a case involving allegations against a local psychiatrist is continuing to move forward despite multiple requests by the victim to drop the charges.
Fifty-five-year-old Steven Black, CEO and owner of Pangea Medical clinic, was charged with battery against a household member and false imprisonment on Oct. 28 after he allegedly assaulted his wife, according to police.
On Saturday, Nov. 11, the victim, Helen Black, released a statement on her Facebook profile in light of the attention she and her family have received.
Within the four-page statement, Helen explains that her husband has been overworked, allegedly working an average of 18 to 20 hours a day, often going 60 hours without sleep while practicing at the medical clinic.
Helen’s letter also made references to her apparent mood swings, relationship issues and other personal problems.
The alleged victim also attributed her growing resentment toward her husband at the time to a former friend, who she believes had an unclear agenda against her husband.
At the time of the alleged battery, Helen wrote that an argument had escalated to the point where she screamed at her husband and threatened to move out.
The statement explained that during the heated discussion, each party was holding onto one of their infant twins.
“I lunged and tried to get possession of (my other child) at which point, Steve simultaneously grabbed my neck and pushed me back while repeating, ‘You are not safe to drive,'” Helen said.
A clarification note was also made.
“At no time in our home did Steve prohibit me or any other adult from leaving,” Helen wrote. “I could have left at any time — I just wasn’t going to leave with the twins and drive. At no time was I really afraid of Steve. I was too angry to be afraid.”
This clarification contradicts a statement made weeks before by a Roswell Police Department patrol officer, which said, at the time of the incident, “Helen stated that she was afraid and began screaming so someone could hear her.”
The RPD officer had also asked Helen if Black had kept her from leaving.
“Helen stated that Steven did prevent her from leaving the house,” the officer wrote. “Helen stated that Steven did prevent her from leaving. Helen stated that it was when she was attempting to leave that Steven first grabbed her by the neck.”
According to Helen’s statement, after police arrived, her former friend immediately walked her to police and demanded that she make a report, “coaching” her along the way.
“She frequently interjected into my conversation,” Helen wrote. “Seemingly to steer my report toward a worsening and exaggerated description of events.”
Shawna Wheat, who was told by Helen to come over at the time of the incident, also made a statement to the RPD.
“Shawna stated that Steven became very upset while he was on scene and would not allow anyone to leave the residence,” police wrote. “Shawna stated that even she was afraid and texted her husband to stay close to the residence in case anything happened.”
Attorney Michael Gomez Jr., of Roswell, is defending Black.
“We believe that the charges against Steven Black are completely unsubstantiated, and that the state will not be able to meet its burden,” Gomez said Thursday. “We’re definitely pursuing all evidence in regards to his defense.”
Gomez was unable to comment to what degree Helen’s letter would play in the case, but said it is part of their determination of what they will utilize in Black’s defense.
12th District Attorney John Sugg, of Alamogordo, was appointed as a special prosecutor to the case Nov. 6.
Sugg said Black’s attorney sent him a copy of Helen’s statement.
“At this point in time, we’re moving forward with the prosecution,” Sugg told the Daily Record Wednesday. “Could that change in the future? I guess it’s possible. But, based on everything we’ve reviewed, we still believe that there’s still sufficient evidence to move forward.”
Sugg said there were some initial plea negotiations going on, but doesn’t believe any of them were fruitful.
Helen said in her statement that they were unable to take a plea or negotiate on the account of their honor and integrity.
Sugg said there still remains the potential for negotiations before Black’s preliminary hearing.
“Could it happen in the future? I’m sure it could. But we’re not closing the door on that,” Sugg said. “There’s some possibility of some type of resolution. But we are — we feel that there’s sufficient evidence to move forward at this point in time.”
Black is still scheduled to have his preliminary hearing on Nov. 29 before Judge K. C. Rodgers in Chaves County Magistrate Court.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.