Trial begins for ex-Ohio deputy accused of shooting Black man 6 times in back

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The murder trial of a former Ohio sheriff's deputy began Wednesday in the 2020 shooting death of Casey Goodson Jr., a 23 year-old Black man trying to enter his grandmother's Columbus home.

Former Franklin County Sheriff deputy James Meade faces murder and reckless homicide charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

"Six shots in the back," special prosecutor Gary Shroyer said in an opening statement. "All fired by the defendant into the back of Casey Goodson with no reasonable basis for the defendant to perceive a threat by Casey."

Prosecutor Shroyer said Meade, who is white, shot Goodson in the back through a metal storm door with an automatic rifle. Shroyer said when Goodson's body was found, his handgun was lying near his body in a cloth holster with the safety on.

He said Goodson was not holding his gun when Meade shot him.

Defense attorney Kaitlyn Stephens said in her opening, "Now with the benefit of hindsight, nobody here in this courtroom is disputing how tragic the events were, on December 4, 2020. And it is not lost on us that somebody lost a life, somebody lost a son, a brother and a friend."

But she told jurors they were to consider only the law and not "sympathy or empathy" when judging the case.

Meade was indicted by a grand jury Dec. 2. He was searching for someone else when he shot Goodson in the doorway of his Columbus home.

According to Goodson's family, he was returning from the dentist and was unlocking his door when he was killed.

There are no known witnesses and Meade wasn't wearing a body camera when he shot Goodson.

According to a court filing, Meade was assigned to a U.S. Marshal's Service-supervised fugitive apprehension team at the time.

Goodson was not a fugitive and wasn't the person for whom Meade was looking.

The filing said Meade reported seeing Goodson allegedly holding a handgun in his car.

"According to defendant Meade, Mr. Goodson aimed the gun at another driver, and, when the light turned green, aimed it at Meade's vehicle while passing him in the intersection," the filing said.

Goodson's family said he had a concealed carry permit for the weapon.