Former Franklin Co. deputy testifies in his own defense during murder trial
Former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Michael Jason Meade took the stand Tuesday to defend himself against charges of murder and reckless homicide in the Dec. 2020 shooting death of Casey Goodson Jr.
Prosecutors in Franklin County Common Pleas Court wrapped up their case Tuesday morning before the defense started calling witnesses and Meade took the stand.
Before Meade testified, the defense called a neighbor who described hearing Meade shout commands at Goodson, but didn't see the shooting. Jurors also heard from the head of the U.S. Marshals task force Meade was assigned to the day he killed Goodson.
Meade described his background in law enforcement and in the Marines before talking about what happened on the day Goodson was killed. Meade referred to Goodson as a "suspect" multiple times during his testimony.
Mark Collins, Meade's defense attorney, asked Meade what was going through his mind when he saw Goodson holding a gun.
"I thought he was going to shoot me. I'm thinking I don't want to die... I never thought I was going to have to shoot him. I thought I was going to give up. And he didn't," Meade said.
Meade said Goodson's gun and his arms were under his body just after the shooting and that he moved Goodson after shooting him to clear the doorway for other officers arriving on the scene.
"There was no room. There was no room to be able to get in," Meade said.
Collins asked Meade how he felt after the shooting, seeing Goodson's grieving family at the scene.
Meade stated, "(It) made me feel terrible...because no matter what physical training you do to respond to the threats, you can't train for the emotional. You can't train for it...I don't know what to say. They're out there crying, and it's a terrible, chaotic situation."
The only time Meade got emotional on the stand was after Collins asked him what he was thinking after shooting Goodson.
Meade's voice cracked, when he answered, "I remember thinking it was my boy's birthday. I just ruined his birthday."
Prosecutor Gary Shroyer cross examined Meade. The prosecution emphasized something Meade wrote in his statement after the shooting, that was disputed by video evidence. Meade stated that when he saw Goodson in his vehicle, the two were stopped near each other and Meade could see Goodson "pumping" a gun in the car, waving it and pointing it. Surveillance video showed Goodson made a continuous turn and didn't stop as the two passed each other.
Shroyer asked Meade why his statement didn't describe Goodson as "running" from him, though his testimony in court and statements from the attorneys state Goodson was "running." Meade said he just used different words to describe the same scenario.
The prosecutor argued Goodson was likely unaware Meade was pursuing him. Shroyer asked Meade why he kept pursuing Goodson when he used keys to open the door to the North Linden home on Estates Place. The prosecutor also asked why Meade didn't use other police tools like flashing lights or sirens to get Goodson's attention because Goodson was wearing ear buds.
Meade said he had to move fast, that he felt Goodson's behavior made him a threat to the neighborhood. Meade said he never saw Goodson carrying keys or unlocking the door, and had no way of knowing if Goodson lived there. Meade said he never noticed Goodson wearing ear buds.
Meade also said that even though they weren't in his jurisdiction, he had a duty to pursue Goodson after seeing what he believed was dangerous, criminal behavior.
Meade testified Goodson saw him and ran, so he was sure he was aware that law enforcement was pursuing him.
The trial is expected to continue on Wednesday.