Guilty verdict in Aug. 12 garage beating
After a little more than an hour of deliberations, a jury on Tuesday found Jacob S. Goodwin guilty of malicious wounding in the group beating of DeAndre Harris following the Unite the Right rally last summer.
Goodwin, 22, and his mother mouthed, “I love you,” to each other after the jury’s verdict was read to the court.
The jury recommended 10 years in prison with the option of some suspended time, a $20,000 fine and empathy training. A formal sentencing hearing was set for Aug. 23.
Before the jury left to deliberate a second time, Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania asked the jury to come back with a sentence that adequately addresses Goodwin’s behavior that day in the Market Street Parking Garage.
“They kick him, they hit him and they beat him while he’s on the ground,” said Platania. “It was an attack.”
“He has yet to express any regret for his actions that day,” he said. “And I would submit he has none.”
Goodwin’s attorney simply stated that his client was young, had no criminal history and made a mistake.
Starting where the case left off Monday, in his cross-examination of Harris on Tuesday, Woodard presented a different picture of the altercation that left Harris bloody and bruised. Woodard said the incident started after Harris hit Harold Crews with a heavy black flashlight. Harris said he never hit the man, but instead, aimed for the man’s flagpole.
Woodard said Harris then ran into the garage to “start a fight.” Again, Harris disagreed with the attorney’s version of events.
“No, I was trying to run away,” said Harris, who reiterated that he never intentionally ran at anyone.
Woodard then played a video of the events and Harris became visibly upset when the attorney said Harris was perfectly fine, while lying on the ground.
“Dude, I’m not perfectly fine,” Harris said. “I had just fallen down, bumped into someone and been maced.”
The prosecution also called Evan Pryse, a nurse practitioner, to the stand to speak to Harris’ injuries when he came into the Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital emergency department on Aug. 12. After Harris took a decontamination shower because he was covered in a chemical substance, Pryse said he examined Harris and immediately addressed the more severe injuries, which included a large gash on his head that required eight staples and a broken wrist.
Pryse said he suspected there was a possibility Harris had a concussion because Harris was slow to respond to questions. He also was concerned about a potential brain injury, but ultimately decided there was no need to do a CT scan, he said.
Harris reportedly told Pryse that he thought he hurt his arm when he fell on it, but Pryse said the location of the break did not seem consistent with a fall. Because only the ulna (the bone on the outside of the forearm) was broken and not the radius (the bone on the inside), Pryse said it did not look like a typical injury from a fall.
When Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina Antony suggested entering Harris’ entire medical record into evidence to give the jury the whole picture of his injuries, Woodard at first objected and said it would be “too much information” for the jurors. It was ultimately entered into evidence.
Charlottesville Sheriff James Brown and city police Detective Declan Hickey both testified that they found Harris right after the assault and attempted to render him aid. Hickey, a former combat medic, said Harris seemed confused and in shock.
The defense’s only witness was Goodwin himself, who said he was “terrified” and thought he would “perish” if he did not use self-defense.
Goodwin said he saw someone hit Crews with an object that looked like a weapon. Watching a commotion near the garage, Goodwin said he then saw someone come running at him.
“I believed I was being attacked,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said he kicked at the man — identified later as Harris — several times to keep him away. When Goodwin kicked Harris’ backpack, he said Harris tripped and rolled toward Goodwin and began to get up again. Goodwin said he kicked Harris again because Harris “lunged at him” and “kept getting up.”
“I was terrified,” said Goodwin. “I had never been in a riot in all my life.”
In her closing statement, Antony told the jury they would have to decide if Goodwin ran into the garage to protect people from Harris or if he ran in “to do battle.”
She said the videos speak for themselves and show that Harris was scrambling to get up and run away from the people in the garage. She said Goodwin inserted himself in the situation and repeatedly kicked Harris while Harris was on the ground.
“DeAndre hasn’t touched him,” Antony said. “At no point does Mr. Goodwin move away.”
On the contrary, in his closing statement, Woodard said Harris was looking to pick a fight. He said a person holding a shield, like Goodwin, does not attack people, but a person holding a flashlight does.
“They want you to convict this man because he’s a white man and DeAndre is a black man,” Woodard said, drawing ire from the prosecution and a reprimand from the judge.
Woodard reiterated that Harris was “out of control” and Goodwin was defending himself.