Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Forensic testimony continued Friday in murder trial of former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy

FBI forensic examiner Aimee Qulia
FBI forensic examiner Aimee Qulia describes the report she wrote reconstructing the trajectory of the bullets Jason Meade fired at Casey Goodson Jr. in North Linden in 2020 during testimony Feb. 2, 2024 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Because bullets traveled through this storm door, they fragmented and shattered glass, complicating the reconstruction and leaving a lot of unknowns.

Prosecutors continued calling forensic witnesses Friday as the first week of the murder trial for Michael Jason Meade trial wrapped up.

The former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy is charged with murder and reckless homicide. He shot and killed 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. in December 2020. Meade claims the shooting was justified, however prosecutors are arguing it wasn't.

The jury in Franklin County Common Pleas Court viewed the blood-stained clothes Goodson was wearing when Meade shot him. Columbus Police Sgt. John Standley described the clothing, the contents of Goodson's wallet, the mesh holster Goodson carried his gun in and his gun.

“There was blood on most everything I took out,” Standley said.

Next, FBI forensic examiner Aimee Qulia testified about her work reconstructing the trajectory of the shots Meade fired at the scene from an assault rifle. The reconstruction was complicated by several factors.

Goodson was shot as he was walking into his North Linden home. Quila says the storm door was likely moving as it was struck by bullets. Because the bullets passed through several materials, they also fragmented and the glass shattered, destroying some of the impact evidence, said Qulia.

"I don't have any knowledge as to the position of the door during the shooting. It was on a hydraulic, so it would open and close if you were not holding on to it," Quila said.

Dr. Anne Shepler, who conducted Goodson's autopsy, described the trajectory of the bullets that passed through his body on the stand. She used diagrams and photographs to show the bullets struck him in the back. Goodson's family was visibly upset when the images were presented in court.

The prosecution and the defense both asked Shepler to watch them conduct separate demonstrations of how Goodson's body might have been turned when one of the bullets struck him.

The prosecutors' stance is that Goodson was struck in the back all six times because his back was to Meade.

The defense claims Goodson turned and pointed a gun at Meade before he pulled the trigger.

Shepler couldn't testify to how Goodson was standing when he was struck, just the path the bullet took through his body. Qulia couldn't testify to how the bullets traveled through Goodson's body, just how they traveled through the scene.

Before testimony ended for the week, Santino Williams, a part of the Columbus police crime scene search unit, took the stand to describe how evidence was collected. He said a detective told him not to take Goodson's ear buds as evidence, though pictures show them laying on the bloody kitchen floor near Goodson's gun. Prosecutors have said he had the ear buds in and didn't know Meade was following him to the house or giving him commands.

Prosecutors say Goodson was carrying keys and a bag of sandwiches and implied the gun was in a holster until it fell during the shooting. The defense argued Goodson had the gun drawn.

Williams said police also didn't thoroughly document or collect the bag of sandwiches Goodson was carrying.

When the defense got the chance to cross examine Williams, they started by asking him about his experiences as a police officer. Defense attorney Kaitlyn Stephens asked him about his experience as a police officer dealing with suspects who run away.

While on the stand, Williams agreed with Stephens that people can still be a danger, even when they are turned away from an officer.

Prosecutor Tim Merkle asked Williams if he is trained to shoot people for running from cops, and Williams said "no." Merkle then asked Williams if he is trained to shoot people for possessing a weapon, to which Williams said "no."

Stephens followed up by asking if he is trained to shoot someone who is pointing a gun at him. Williams replied "yes."

Testimony is expected to continue Monday.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.