LUMBERTON — The first day of testimony in a trial of a man charged with the 2012 shooting death of a Lumberton police officer featured the officer’s widow speaking emotionally about how the loss of her husband changed her life.
Marques Brown, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Officer Jeremiah Goodson Jr.
Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt gave an opening statement that recounted the day Goodson died. Court-appointed defense attorney Lisa Miles, of Durham, reserved her right to give her opening statement after Britt has finished presenting his case.
Miles is using self-defense and intellectual deficiency as a defense. Brown was declared intellectually deficient for a capital case during a pre-trial hearing in January.
Britt is asking that Brown be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Goodson was killed July 17, 2012, at a Shell gasoline station on Fayetteville Road in North Lumberton, not far from the Exit 22 overpass on Interstate 95 that now is named in his honor. Goodson was off duty and out of uniform when he died trying to serve an arrest warrant on Brown for two charges of failure to appear in court, one charge of possession of firearm by a felon, and one charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Goodson’s widow, Lametria Goodson Hunt, was called to the witness stand by Britt. Her testimony brought tears to the eyes of at least one juror. Britt asked her to recount the details leading up to the shooting that left her a widow.
Hunt told how she got breakfast and went to an early appointment in Lumberton and then picked up her nephew and went to Walmart.
“I was expecting a baby, I felt like there were more things I needed for the baby,” said Hunt, who was pregnant at the time her husband was killed.
She and Goodson made a few more stops, Hunt said. At some point Goodson got out of the car and told her to pop the trunk, and he got out his gun, Hunt said.
“There is someone in the store that has warrants and he (Goodson) would drop me off,” Hunt said.
She said Goodson told her he’d be back and pick her up, but he never returned.
Instead she received a call from John Simmons, a Lumberton Police Department patrol officer, Hunt said.
“I knew there was something wrong, but I had a baby in my belly. I was trying to stay calm,” she said. “That is when the officer asked if I was Jeremiah’s wife.”
Hunt said Simmons took her to the hospital.
“I can’t remember names, but I know where they take you when they give you bad news,” she said.
Hunt was visibly distraught as she testified. When Britt approached Hunt with a photo of Goodson, she could not contain her tears. She began sobbing, and cradled her face with her hands for a few minutes trying to compose herself.
Britt placed his hand on her arm.
“Are you OK?” Britt said.
Miles reserved the right to call Hunt, who has remarried, back for cross-examination.
The next witness was Lumberton police Lt. Pete Montero, who was the watch commander on duty the day Goodson was killed.
Both Britt and Lisa questioned Montero about what transpired the day of the shooting, what phone Goodson used to call Montero, where the cars were parked at the crime scene, and about what was said over the radio.
Montero’s voice quivered and his eyes welled up with tears as he testified.
Introduced into evidence during the testimony by Hunt and Simmons were a photo of Goodson, a copy of the original sketches requested by the State Bureau of Investigation, and the Lumberton Police Department’s policies and procedures manual.
Snippets of audio from radio communications between officers and a 911 call were played for the jurors.
“A man’s been shot. He is on the ground bleeding,” a female was heard saying. “I think he is dead.”
The courtroom was silent as the audio played.
The trial will continue today at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom 2A. The Robesonian will not cover the trial gavel to gavel but will report on what the newspaper believes are critical aspects.
Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.