Published On: Sun, Aug 25th, 2019

Georgia Appeals Judge Stephen Goss commits suicide, found dead in his backyard

Police announced that a Georgia Court of Appeals judge was found dead behind his Albany home on Saturday morning, now identifying him as Stephen Goss.

Goss, 60, was dead from a single gunshot wound when Albany police arrived at the home on Greenwood Drive just after 8 a.m.

“The investigation is ongoing, but it does not appear to be a homicide,” Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said in a statement.

Here’s the post, via Facebook: “The Albany Police Department is sad to announce the death of Justice Stephen Goss. Foul play is not suspected, Please remember that this is a hard time for the family of Judge Stephen Goss so allow law enforcement to develop the answers through the investigation and not begin the social media antics.”

The media press release dated 8/24/19 detailed that “Around 8:11 a.m. this morning, Albany Police were dispatched to the 600 block of Greenwood Drive. When they arrived, 60-year old Justice Goss was located in a wooded area behind the residence deceased from a gunshot wound.

“Currently, Law Enforcement is using all resources to identify the circumstances that led to his death. This is an ongoing investigation and updates will be provided as additional information becomes available.”

Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said care is being taken to recover every bit of pertinent evidence in the case.

“We give this kind of attention to every death in the county, but we are being especially cautious since the deceased is a state-level judge,” the coroner said shortly after noon on Saturday. “Right now, we are still treating this as a homicide, and we won’t close that chapter until we’ve exhausted all efforts to determine what happened.

“We’ve been in the woods this morning going over the scene thoroughly. We will issue a more complete report once we hear back from the crime lab.”

Goss was appointed to the Court of Appeals in August 2018 by then Gov. Nathan Deal. Before that appointment, he had served as a Superior Court judge in Albany for nearly 20 years.

Judge Stephen Goss

Gov. Brian Kemp offered his support to the Goss family.

“A native Georgian, trusted counsel, and man of integrity, Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Goss will be sorely missed by countless people across our state and nation,” Kemp said in a tweet.

“The Kemp family asks God to give comfort to his loved ones, friends, and colleagues in this difficult time.”

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Christopher J. McFadden said the court and its staff were deeply saddened by the sudden death of their friend and colleague.

“He was a soft spoken, unassuming man,” McFadden said in a statement. “The more one got to know him, the more one grew to like and respect him. He was a judge to whom other judges turned for guidance, a nationally recognized expert on accountability courts. On a personal level, I had looked forward to a long and deepening friendship.”

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton also issued a statement of condolences.

“Judge Goss was a man who brought so much dignity and compassion to the delivery of justice all across this great state,” he said. “He was a national figure, known for his work on mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. His legacy is as great as our sense of loss. Our court and this state’s judiciary express our profound condolences to the Goss family.”

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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 theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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