Goodwin Found Guilty of Malicious Wounding Charge Stemming from August 12 Rally
A Charlottesville jury has found Jacob Goodwin guilty of malicious wounding in the August 12 beating of DeAndre Harris.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville jury has found an Arkansas man guilty of a malicious wounding charge that stems from the violence that took place on August 12.
The jury heard testimony directly from Jacob Scott Goodwin in his case for beating DeAndre Shakur Harris as he took the stand on the second day of his trial in Charlottesville Circuit Court on Tuesday, May 1.
The 23-year-old defendant said everything he did inside the Market Street Parking Garage that day was in self-defense.
“I believed I was going to be attacked,” Goodwin told the court.
He is charged with one felonious count of malicious wounding.
Video footage from the day of the Unite the Right rally shows Goodwin dressed in militia-style gear - helmet, goggles, and carrying a plastic shield. In response to his appearance, the defense argues that what Goodwin was wearing that day didn't necessarily make him a criminal. Footage also suggests Goodwin, Daniel Patrick Borden, Tyler Watkins Davis, and Alex Michael Ramos attacked Harris after words were exchanged.
On the witness stand, Goodwin said he thought he saw Harris “run at him,” so he kicked him.
“[Harris] Came running at me from right side, and fell down or tripped for some reason. So when he tried to get back up I kicked him because he was previously running towards me,” the defendant explained.
Goodwin said he didn’t see other men beating Harris, “I thought it was just me and Mr. DeAndre [sic].”
Harris had already testified during both court days, telling jurors about his injuries and his recollection of the incident.
Defense attorney Elmer Woodard questioned Harris’ version of what happened. He pointed out that Harris spoke to the FBI almost two weeks after the rally, telling them that he lost consciousness during the alleged attack and claimed “alt-right” members “ambushed us.”
Woodard argued that Harris tried to initiate the fight, at one point asking Harris, “Did you go there to fight?”
“No, I was trying to run away,” Harris replied.
While a video was showing Harris getting hit, Woodard asked him, “You’re perfectly safe there, right?”
Harris told the attorney, “I’ve already been pushed. I’ve already been hit. I’ve already been maced. I am not perfectly safe.”
Woodard had acknowledged to the jury that Goodwin kicked Harris in the stomach and the left rib, but that the alleged victim didn't report it to the FBI or hospital staff. Instead, Harris later said he had pain in his right rib.
The court heard from Evan Pryse, a nurse practitioner at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, who had treated Harris’ injuries.
Pryse told jurors that Harris was brought into a decontamination room because of mace. Harris was noted to have had a gash on the head and scalp area, as well as an arm injury. He said Harris was able to walk and talk, but slow to react or answer questions.
The witness said some patients come in with an initial injury, but then notice more injuries the next day.
“With a head injury people can have amnesia, difficulty recalling events, headaches and confusion,” said Pryse.
The commonwealth called Charlottesville police detective Declan Hickey to the stand as its final witness. Hickey worked to identify men in the photos of Harris’ beating.
The detective said he worked with law enforcement from Arkansas to correctly identify Goodwin as one of those men.
Woodard had requested a motion to strike the case, arguing the commonwealth, “have no evidence that Harris suffered bodily injury” from Goodwin. The attorney said Harris kept getting up after being hit, and since the men beating him saw Harris as an attacker they “didn’t know what he would do.”
Judge Richard Moore denied Woodard's motion.
Closing arguments began at 5:15 p.m., and was followed by instructions for jurors before they went into deliberations around 6:30 p.m. The jury looked at three factors: Whether or not Goodwin caused bodily injury, if it was done with malice, and if it was done with the intent to kill, harm, or disfigure.
Around 8:30 p.m., the jury handed down the guilty verdict, and recommended 10 years for sentencing with option for suspended sentence. Jurors also recommend a $20,000 fine, and for Goodwin to enlist in a rehabilitation or empathy plan.
"We've worked very hard on preparing this case against Mr. Goodwin, and so there is a great deal of satisfaction that we do feel a just result was achieved," says Joe Platania, Charlottesville's commonwealth's attorney.
A pre-sentence report will be due five days before Goodwin's sentencing hearing. The defense made a motion to set aside the verdict.
The defense is requesting a pre-sentence investigation, which is due five days prior to sentencing. Defense also made a motion to set aside the verdict. Judge Moore is allowing the motion to be filed and heard on another date, that is not set yet.
Goodwin's sentencing date is set for August 23.