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Published On: Mon, Jun 6th, 2016

Freddie Gray murder case: Officer Caesar Goodson Jr choose ‘bench trial’ instead of jury trial

The police officer charged with murder in the death of Freddie Gray chose today to have a bench trial, eliminating a jury from the high profile case and placing the verdict in the hands of the same judge who acquitted another officer two weeks ago.

The officer, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., is veteran of Baltimore’s police force and was driving the police wagon that Gray suffered a spinal injury that killed him. Gray, 25, died in April 2015 and the violent protests and was noted in debates over the force of police officers against minorities.

Goodson faces second-degree murder and his trial, which begins Thursday, will be watched closely as many residents have hoped for a conviction in the case.

Officer Caesar Goodson Freddie Gray murder case Baltimore Maryland“You are waiving your right to have a jury trial, do you understand that?” Judge Williams asked as he peered at Officer Goodson from the bench during a pretrial hearing in his cavernous courtroom on Monday.

“Yes,” Officer Goodson replied, softly.

Baltimore’s top prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, charged six officers in the arrest and death of Gray, a move that attempted to calm the city, but has yet to yield any convictions.

The presiding judge, Barry G. Williams, granted each officer a separate trial.

The first, of Officer William G. Porter, ended in December with a hung jury and led to months of delays. In the second trial, last month, Officer Edward M. Nero was acquitted by Judge Williams.

Goodson, 47, had been a Baltimore police officer for 17 years when he responded to the arrest of Gray.  Gray had fled, unprompted, from police officers, who later placed him in Officer Goodson’s transport wagon.

Gray was not secured by a seatbelt. With Officer Goodson at the wheel, the wagon made a series of stops in the neighborhood; when it arrived at the Western District police station, Gray was unresponsive and no longer breathing. He died a week later from a functionally severed spinal cord.

Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. Communist Carl Dix hosts rally to support Freddie Gray, ‘murdered’ by Baltimore police, Caesar Goodson - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] trial of the police who killed Freddie Gray ended in a mistrial. The second ended in an acquittal. Right now Goodson, the cop accused of ignoring Freddie Gray’s desperate demand for medical help, t…, and subjecting him to a rough ride – at the end of which Freddie Gray was near death – is on […]

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