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Jason Meade's murder trial continues as prosecution cross examines defense witnesses

Former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Michael Jason Meade testifies in his own defense on Wednesday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Meade testified he shot Casey Goodson Jr. after the 23-year-old pointed a gun at him on Dec. 4, 2020.
Brooke LaValley
The Columbus Dispatch
Former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Michael Jason Meade testifies in his own defense on Wednesday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Meade testified he shot Casey Goodson Jr. after the 23-year-old pointed a gun at him on Dec. 4, 2020.

A former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy finished testifying in his own defense Wednesday after he was cross examined by a prosecutor.

Once Michael Jason Meade, who goes by Jason, concluded his testimony, the defense attorney's use-of-force consultant and the prosecuting attorney had several argumentative exchanges.

Meade is facing murder and reckless homicide charges after shooting and killing Casey Goodson Jr. on Dec. 4, 2020. His legal team is arguing the shooting was justified.

On the stand, Meade pushed back hard against the lines of questioning from special prosecutor Gary Shroyer during cross examinations Tuesday and Wednesday. Shroyer questioned why Meade didn't do things differently at numerous points in the lead up to the shooting.

Below is part of Meade's actual testimony:

Shroyer: "You could have waited for backup. Let him go in the home."

Meade: "You know what? My backup was with me. Why would I wait? I'm a police officer, sir."

And, Shroyer's questions insinuated Meade concluded Goodson was a threat as without reason, but Meade was quick to retort.

Shroyer: "So, you'd conjured up that (Goodson) may be going into harm somebody. Is that what you're saying?"

Meade: "I didn't conjure anything. My assessment is he's trying to get away from me. So my intent is to stop him and to detain him."

In another exchange, Shroyer questioned Meade about why he thought Goodson went into the house to do harm.

Shroyer: "But you said that you didn't know if he's going to go in and harm somebody isn't that, right?"

Meade: "I didn't know."

Shroyer: "Yeah, but that's what you were thinking?"

Meade: "All I'm thinking is I got to get him and get to him and stop him and to detain him. The multiple possibilities of all the things that he could do. I couldn't assess all of those."

Meade said there wasn't time to check the car registration or addresses to see if Goodson was out of place.

"There was nothing to indicate that he was threatening anybody in the home," Shroyer said.

Meade said, "There was nothing to indicate that he wanted to cooperate with me at all."

Meade said Goodson saw him, but walked away from him, ignored commands and ran from him, so he felt the risk was escalated and warranted intervention.

Defense attorney Mark Collins got the chance to ask his client some follow-up questions after cross examination.

"In your experience in law training? When someone is pointing a gun, waving a gun and running away from law enforcement, are they creating exigent circumstances?" Collins asked him.

Meade answered, "yes."

"You don't start, do you start your training with, 'Oh. I think the person could live here. So, I'm going to wait and let them get inside and then knock on the door?" Collins asked.

Meade said he made decisions based on what he observed, informed by his training.

Collins asked Meade about how he assessed the situation.

"When you saw the person get out of the vehicle and saw the gun in his hand... was it was your intent to shoot him right there?"

"No," Meade said.

"When he ran with the gun, did you reassess and did your intent change?"

"Yes," Meade said.

"When you saw the person in the doorway and you were giving commands, was your intent to shoot him at that point?" Collins asked.

"No," Meade said.

"When you saw the gun come back at you, what was your intent, Jason?" Collins asked, raising his voice.

"Not to die," Meade said. "To protect myself."

"Is that why you fired the weapon," Collins asked.

"Yes, sir," Meade said.

While on the stand, Meade also defended the phrasing he used while giving a speech at a men's Christian retreat in 2018.

"Did you make this statement, 'I hunt people,'" Shroyer asked.

Meade said he did.

Shroyer asked Meade if he said this in the same speech, "'I ain't never been hit clean in the face one time. That's a fact. And it ain't, because I'm so good. You know why? Because I learned long ago. I got to throw the first punch. And I learned long ago. Why? Why I'm justified in throwing the first punch.' Then you went on to say, 'and don't look up here like, police brutality. The people I hit, you wish you could hit.'"

Meade said it was a joke that elicited a laugh.

"I had just made reference of working on a fugitive task force that does manhunts. And of course, in my line of work, the people we go after are violent people, rapists and violent offenders," Meade said.

Ryan Rosser, a Columbus police officer and a member of the U.S. Marshals task force Meade was on, worked with Meade that day and was at the scene, but he didn't see the shooting. Rosser said he saw Goodson walking away from them, then walking hurriedly and then running.

A use-of-force consultant hired for $2,500 by the defense team testified supporting Meade's actions. He said he's never testified against a police officer in a criminal case.

The trial is scheduled to continue on Thursday.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.