Officer Facing Murder in Freddie Gray Death Opts for Bench Trial - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Officer Facing Murder in Freddie Gray Death Opts for Bench Trial

Posted: Updated:
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. leaves the Maryland Court of Appeals on Thursday, March 3. (Photo: AP file) Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. leaves the Maryland Court of Appeals on Thursday, March 3. (Photo: AP file)

BALTIMORE (AP)- The Baltimore police officer facing the most serious charge stemming from the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, whose neck was broken in the back of a transport wagon waived his right to a jury trial on Monday, instead opting to place his fate in the hands of a judge.
    
Officer Caesar Goodson, 46, faces second-degree "depraved-heart" murder, manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges stemming from Gray's death on April 19, 2015. Gray died a week after he suffered a critical spinal injury in the back of Goodson's transport wagon.
    
Goodson opted to have his case heard by a judge rather than a jury at a motions hearing Monday before Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.
    
Opening statements are scheduled to begin Thursday morning.
    
Prosecutors say Goodson is the most culpable in Gray's death and that he was grossly negligent when he failed to buckle Gray, who was in handcuffs and leg shackles, into a seat belt, and call an ambulance when he indicated he needed medical aid.
    
Goodson is one of six officers charged in Gray's arrest and death, but the only one who didn't make a statement to investigators.
    
Last year's death of Gray, who was black, prompted protests and rioting across vast swaths of the city, and his name became a rallying cry in the national conversation about the treatment of black men by police in America. In the wake of Gray's death, the city's police commissioner was abruptly fired. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who was widely criticized for her handling of the civil unrest that followed, announced she wouldn't run for re-election.
    
Williams ruled Monday on several pretrial motions. He granted a defense bid to prevent Syreeta Teel, an investigator who interviewed another officer charged in the case and took the stand during his trial, from being called as a witness against Goodson.
    
Teel is one of two departmental investigators who interviewed Officer William Porter, whose first trial ended in a mistrial in December. Before Porter made an official taped statement to Teel, the two spoke on the phone informally. Teel testified that Porter told her Gray said he couldn't breathe during one of the transport wagon's stops. In his official statement, Porter made no mention of Gray's complaint.
    
An appeals court ruled that the officers in the Gray case can be forced to testify against each other, and Porter could be called as a witness against Goodson, Williams said Monday. But Teel's statements are only relevant to Porter, Williams said, and agreed with the defense that she should be excluded from the upcoming trial.
    
Williams sided with the state on most of the remaining motions, denying the defense's request to dismiss the assault charge, and to suppress portions of the autopsy report.
    
Gray was arrested April 12 outside of the Gilmor Homes housing complex in West Baltimore. Prosecutors say he was handcuffed and placed inside a transport wagon with Goodson at the wheel. A few blocks away the wagon stopped and three officers took him out, secured him in leg shackles and slid him back into the wagon's compartment, head-first and on his belly. He was never strapped into a seat belt. The wagon made three more stops before its final stop at the Western District station house. At that point Gray was unconscious.
    
Goodson is the only officer who was present at every wagon stop, and other officers have testified that it was his responsibility to ensure the safety of the prisoner in his custody.
    
After the hearing on Monday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the courthouse, holding yellow signs and banners calling for justice for Freddie Gray.
    
The Rev. Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon, a vocal activist against police brutality in the city, said he was deeply disappointed with Goodson's decision to waive his right to a jury trial and instead proceed before a judge.
    
Last month Williams acquitted Officer Edward Nero, who faced misdemeanor charges in the Gray case and also chose a judge trial.
    
"We've suffered so much already in the midst of this trial that we would hope that we would have had Baltimore City residents be part of a jury process, to have an opportunity to decide this officer's guilt or innocence," Witherspoon said Monday. "We've already suffered so much, we've been through an ordeal and the decision is devastating."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:48 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:48:06 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:24 GMT
    Econo Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean CityEcono Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean City

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-05-25 23:56:24 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:04 GMT
    Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More
  • Non-Profits Coalition Creating Pilot Program for those Fighting Addiction

    Non-Profits Coalition Creating Pilot Program for those Fighting Addiction

    Thursday, May 25 2017 6:54 PM EDT2017-05-25 22:54:03 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:23 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:23:50 GMT

    The organization B.R.I.D.G.E.S.--Bridging Recovery in Delaware - Gathering Essential Supports--is starting a "Community Navigators" program to help people get involved in the fight against addiction.

    More

    The organization B.R.I.D.G.E.S.--Bridging Recovery in Delaware - Gathering Essential Supports--is starting a "Community Navigators" program to help people get involved in the fight against addiction.

    More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:48 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:48:06 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:24 GMT
    Econo Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean CityEcono Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean City

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More
  • Cruisin' Leaves its Mark on Ocean City

    Cruisin' Leaves its Mark on Ocean City

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:38 PM EDT2017-05-24 22:38:22 GMT
    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:41 AM EDT2017-05-25 11:41:49 GMT

     Cruisin' leaves it's mark on Ocean City. 

    More

    Last weekend's Cruisin' Ocean City event left its mark, in more ways than one. 

    More
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-05-25 23:56:24 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:04 GMT
    Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 'Ghost Pots' Hurting Chesapeake Bay's Blue Crab Population

    'Ghost Pots' Hurting Chesapeake Bay's Blue Crab Population

    Crabbing season is well underway, and that means hundreds of thousands of crab pots are in the Chesapeake Bay catching blue crabs.

    Every morning during crabbing season, you can see watermen gathering up their pots, collecting their catch, and putting the pots back in the water. What you cannot see is the problem: pots that have had their lines severed sit on the bay's bottom, sometimes never seen again, along with the crabs inside them.

    More

    Crabbing season is well underway, and that means hundreds of thousands of crab pots are in the Chesapeake Bay catching blue crabs.

    Every morning during crabbing season, you can see watermen gathering up their pots, collecting their catch, and putting the pots back in the water. What you cannot see is the problem: pots that have had their lines severed sit on the bay's bottom, sometimes never seen again, along with the crabs inside them.

    More
  • Updated: Polygraph Tests at Heart of White Marlin Open Trial

    Updated: Polygraph Tests at Heart of White Marlin Open Trial

    Thursday marked day four of the White Marlin Open trial in Baltimore, in which a federal judge has to figure out who will get the millions of dollars in prize money from last year's tournament held in Ocean City.

    More

    Thursday marked day four of the White Marlin Open trial in Baltimore, in which a federal judge has to figure out who will get the millions of dollars in prize money from last year's tournament held in Ocean City.

    More
  • Locals React to Cruisin' Ocean City

    Locals React to Cruisin' Ocean City

    Thousands of cars rumbled into Ocean City for Cruisin' OC but not everyone was thrilled about it.

    For 27 years unique cars have traveled from hundreds of miles away to drive up and down the streets of Ocean City.

    While this event might be a big attraction for people who aren't from Delmarva, not everyone gets revved up for the weekend.Locals said that over the past few years the noise and the smell has gotten to be a little too much.

    More

    Thousands of cars rumbled into Ocean City for Cruisin' OC but not everyone was thrilled about it.

    For 27 years unique cars have traveled from hundreds of miles away to drive up and down the streets of Ocean City.

    While this event might be a big attraction for people who aren't from Delmarva, not everyone gets revved up for the weekend.Locals said that over the past few years the noise and the smell has gotten to be a little too much.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices