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Casey Goodson Jr.'s family testifies in former SWAT Deputy Jason Meade's murder trial

Defendant Jason Meade, back, and his attorney Mark Collins, front, listen to opening statements Jan. 31, 2024, in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Meade is charged with murder after shooting and killing Casey Goodson Jr. on Dec. 4, 2020.
Defendant Jason Meade, back, and his attorney Mark Collins, front, listen to opening statements Jan. 31, 2024, in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Meade is charged with murder after shooting and killing Casey Goodson Jr. on Dec. 4, 2020.

Testimony began Thursday in the murder trial of former Franklin County Sheriff SWAT Deputy Jason Meade.

Casey Goodson Jr.'s grandmother, uncle, sister and a Columbus Police officer who responded that day testified about what they saw leading up to and after the shooting at the grandmother's home over three years ago. Meade shot Goodson, 23, in December 2020, but the circumstances surrounding the shooting remain unclear.

Meade was with a U.S. Marshals task force on an unsuccessful fugitive search when he claimed he saw Goodson in a car waving a gun. Even though Goodson was not the subject of the search, Meade pursued Goodson to a family home in the Northland area.

Outside the home, Meade shot Goodson six times in the back. Meade claims Goodson ignored requests to drop the gun.

Goodson’s family maintains he was holding deli sandwiches — not a gun.

Sharon Payne, Goodson's grandmother, spoke first on Thursday. Payne was asked to recall what she heard and saw the day Goodson, who she calls CJ, was shot and killed by Meade. The special prosecutors also played the audio from the 911 call Payne made that day.

Payne said she was in her bedroom with her two grandchildren while her other family members were elsewhere in the house. That's when she heard gunshots.

"I just sat down and first I heard a loud noise, 'bam bam,' like a real loud noise. I didn't realize at the time, because it was so rapid. There was gunfire, and at the same time I heard a large crash, like a chandelier falling, like falling and crashing to the ground," Payne said.

Payne said she entered her kitchen and saw Goodson on the ground on his stomach with his palms facing down.

"And I saw two bullet holes in his back. I saw one that was bigger than the other one, but it was between his shoulder blades. And then I saw another one down from there, but it was just a matter of seconds because I ran to call 911," Payne said.

Payne also testified that her grandson did have a concealed carry permit and would carry his gun when he left. She described how he would wear it on his hip and would sometimes take it off and put it in the center console of his car when he drove.

Payne said Goodson bringing the gun with him places bothered her because of other police officer shootings of Black men she had heard about, but the defense objected and Judge David Young sustained the objection.

Columbus Police Officer Samuel Rippey testified that he responded to the shooting after hearing about an officer in trouble on the police dispatch. Rippey said when he arrived on scene and after he assessed the situation he gave chest compressions to Goodson until medics arrived and took over for him.

Rippey described what he saw at the scene and what was on Goodson's person. He said Goodson had on a face mask, one AirPod in his ear and a mesh holster on the front of his pants. He said there was a handgun with an extended magazine on the floor of the kitchen and other officers warned him not to touch it.

Rippey said he also saw a bag on the ground with two Subway sandwiches in it.

During cross examination, Meade's attorney Mark Collins asked more about the handgun on the ground near Goodson. He asked Rippey about the extended magazine and whether it was a gun that would have been easy to see by a law enforcement officer.

Rippey said in his experience as a police officer if he saw a person in a car waving a gun it would draw his attention to that person and he would investigate if that person pointed a gun at someone. Rippey said the danger would still be present if someone's back was to to the officer.

"Because they still have a gun they're still dangerous. I mean they can shoot with their back to you," Rippey said.

Janae Jones, Goodson's sister, also testified on Thursday, just eight days after giving birth. She also described what she saw that day.

Jones said she knew Goodson had just arrived home because she got an alert on her iPhone stating the AirPods that she had given to Goodson were nearby. AirPods are wireless Apple headphones and are able to be tracked by other Apple devices the owner has.

She said she heard the gunshots and also saw Goodson in the kitchen, but didn't see the actual shooting.

"I seen Casey lying there on the ground, like on his stomach. I remember his hands was, like, outwards and towards maybe his shoulder length and his, eyes. They were, like, looking at me," Jones said. "His face was turning my way. And I remember seeing the officer...I didn't know who he was at the time, but he was standing there as well, and he had told me to back up."

Ernest Payne Jr., Goodson's uncle, testified in the afternoon. Payne said when he heard the six gunshots, he was taking care of his daughter and rushed to the kitchen to see what had happened.

Payne said he was met by an officer pointing a gun at him and telling him to get on the ground, which he did. He said he was also ordered by the officer to tell his two dogs that ran into the room to leave.

Payne also testified about cleaning up the scene after law enforcement had left.

Goodson’s family filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Meade and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. That case is on hold until the criminal case is complete.

Special prosecutor Tim Merkle said the murder trial is expected to last about two weeks. The trial will resume Friday.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.