UNITED STATES NEWS

Jury deliberations start in murder trial of former sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot man

Feb 14, 2024, 12:57 PM

Jason Meade sits with his defense team in his trial at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Wedn...

Jason Meade sits with his defense team in his trial at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 in Columbus, Ohio. (Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, Pool)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, Pool)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Prosecutors in the murder trial of a former Ohio sheriff’s deputy told jurors Wednesday that his claims that the man he fatally shot posed a threat are not credible, while defense lawyers insisted that evidence in the case is consistent with their client’s statements.

Special Prosecutor Tim Merkle said the victim, 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr., had the “ill fortune” of running into Jason Meade, whom he described as an “aggressive, arrogant and remorseless officer,” and urged the jury to return a “just verdict.”

Jurors began deliberating the case Wednesday afternoon.

Meade, who is white, is charged with murder and reckless homicide in the December 2020 killing in Columbus of Goodson, who was Black. Meade maintains that he shot Goodson because he brandished a gun.

Meade, who is a pastor at a Baptist church, shot Goodson six times, including five times in the back, as Goodson tried to enter his grandmother’s house, police have said.

There is no bodycam video of the shooting, and prosecutors repeatedly asserted that Meade is the only person who testified Goodson was holding a gun.

Goodson’s family and prosecutors have said he was holding a sandwich bag in one hand and his keys in the other when he was fatally shot. They do not dispute that Goodson may have been carrying a gun but note that he had a license to carry a firearm.

Goodson’s weapon was found on his grandmother’s kitchen floor with the safety mechanism engaged.

Meade said during his testimony that he feared for his life and the lives of others after Goodson waved a gun at him as the two drove past each other. He testified that he pursued Goodson in his unmarked vehicle and that Goodson aimed a gun at him again, right before the shooting occurred.

Defense attorney Mark Collins said they demonstrated that Meade acted responsibly and he that the witnesses called on Meade’s behalf corroborated what he said. Collins also said the physical evidence in the case shows Meade was truthful.

Collins attacked the credibility of Christopher Corne, a last-minute witness called by prosecutors who testified Tuesday. Corne, who was driving a truck near where the shooting happened, testified that Goodson drove past him shortly before Meade pursued him, and that he did not see a gun in Goodson’s hand.

Collins reminded the jury that Corne finally came forward only after he had watched news coverage of the trial’s opening days. Collins also noted that Corne deleted all his Facebook comments, including favorable remarks made on posts on the page of Tamala Payne, Goodson’s mother.

Columbus police Officer Ryan Rosser testified for the defense that he and Meade had been working together on a fugitive task force assignment on the day of the shooting but that he was driving a separate vehicle. Rosser, when asked by prosecutors, said he did not see Goodson holding a gun and testified that he heard the gunshots but did not witness Goodson’s killing. His body camera captured the scene afterward but not the shooting itself.

___

Samantha Hendrickson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues

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Jury deliberations start in murder trial of former sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot man