On A Full Moon 16

I love to tell my stories and connecting with you. I enjoy lacing childhood experiences into each story to do this. I share my heart in every story building on this connection. In return, I seek your heartfelt comments as feedback. I do my best to respond to each comment. I do read them all. 

RecentlyI was watching my favorite news show. The guest was talking about a national political issue and used the term, “We will have a long row to hoe”.  As you may know, I was raised in a dysfunctional environment. One that caused my family to fall apart sending my older brother, Bubba, my baby sister, Sheila, and me into foster homes. We were blessed to never be separated. Over the years, we lived with two different families. The first home was not good. As I reflect, I am grateful it was not as bad as it could have been. Our foster father was a retired Air Force sergeant in his late 50’s, his wife a homemaker. They never had children of their own and we were their second set of foster kids. He was a gruff man with a mean streak. After his retirement, he supplemented his income by taking in kids like us for the money from the state. He also owned a small upholstery shop operated out of his two car garage. Soon after our arrival, Bubba and I found ourselves working for our keep in the little shop. We quickly mastered disassembling old cloth and leather covered living room type furniture. We learned to use single edge razor blades to remove each section of sofas and chairs so the man could use them as patterns to create the new coverings. We worked eight hours a day. Bubba was 8 and I was 7. Sheila learned to sweep, mop, wash dishes and dust the entire house at age 5. 

Their last name was Nave. Mrs. Nave’s sister lived near us in Haughton, LA and owned a fishing camp at a nearby lake. The camp was tiny with only two bedrooms. Old man Nave owned an old Ford pickup with a homemade, plywood dog box on the bed of the truck. The box roof was level with the sides of the cargo bed walls. It was only about three feet in height. One hot, summer Friday evening, the Naves loaded us three kids in the dog box and headed to the lake camp. The trip took about 30 minutes. Sheila was frightened while Bubba and I were excited and fascinated at being concealed in the blacked out box. We felt the rumble of the road with each grind of the transmission gears. Shortly after sunset, we were sent to bed in the dog box with two old feather pillows and a worn out cotton bed sheet. We were locked in the box from about 7:00 P.M. until 8:00 A.M. the following morning. As I visualize those nights and give you a small glimpse of those childhood days, I see total darkness. I feel every pore of my small body drenched in heavy perspiration. I feel hundreds of mosquitoes, AKA Louisiana’s State Bird as we call them, attacking my drenched body. I feel the rusty steel truck bed on my back through my wet t-shirt and summer shorts. I hear Sheila weeping and Bubba cursing between his gritted teeth. 

About an hour after the sun rose, we finally heard old man Nave’s footsteps approaching the truck. I hear him grasp the chain hooks that locked the tailgate of the truck. My eyes burned as the sun rays burst into the stinking dog box. I still hear his voice as he shouted, “Up and at-em! Get to the bathroom and wash up for your breakfast!”

Let us pause here for a moment. At this time in my childhood, I had already accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God and my Lord and Savior. While locked in the dog box those Friday and Saturday nights, I lifted up my first Real Prayers to my Lord. I said Grace before each meal as I was instructed but only until those nights did I truly pray to Him to save us from this mean couple. Within weeks, my prayers were answered. When the state social worker visited the Nave’s home to check on our welfare, she saw us covered from head to toe with hundreds of scabbed over bites. She inquired and I had the chance to beg her to remove us. I told her how we were being treated. In a day or so, we were taken by the state and sent to the Mosley family in Hall Summit, Louisiana. Like the Nave’s, they too were an elderly, retired couple. There has never been a doubt God heard, and without hesitation, answered my little prayers. The Mosleys were much better in many ways. I will spare you the ugly details for another time. Suffice it to say, they were not the saints I once believed. 

We missed our Mama and Daddy dearly in those days. I prayed we would one day be reunited. Every night I prayed for this…and a new bicycle! I saw it in my mind. It was big and red with a headlight and a horn. I could see Daddy rolling up the gravel driveway at the lonely Mosley farm in his old Ford station wagon with this red bike in the back. One summer morning, I was inside our screened porch churning homemade butter the old fashion way. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed a passing car on the highway. Just for a second, I saw a station wagon quickly go by. In the back of the wagon appeared to be a small motor scooter! I prayed, “God, let it be real.” A few minutes later, Daddy rolled up the dusty driveway and in the back was, in fact, a red bike. I ran to his arms with tears in my eyes. My heart filled with tremendous joy. After Bubba and Sheila joined in and all the hugging and kissing was over, Daddy walked us to the back of his car and presented us with a 1959 red Sears Puch Moped. Not only did God answer my prayers, He went above and beyond! I prayed for a bicycle and He blessed us with one with a motor on it! The second part of my prayers was also answered within months. Daddy got us out of foster care. So we lived Happily Ever After! Well, not quite…but we survived and here I am. 

I believe God’s Word. I believe His Scriptures contained in the Holy Bible. There are scriptures some of us truly struggle with believing. His Word states there is a Hell, a burning Lake of Fire where wicked non believers perish for eternity. I struggle deeply with this. On one hand, I hope the Nave’s are in that lake of fire and are being tormented for the evil they did to us. On the other, I hope they found God and repented and are forgiven. 

Now back to the news story I mentioned, “a long row to hoe”. I am such a functioning illiterate! I am a true Southern Redneck in many ways. Part of my youth was spent on the Mosley farm. Many a day I worked the gardens in the hot summer sun. I hoed many a row in my childhood. All these years when I heard the saying, “a long row to hoe”, I flashed back to the farm and a hoe. A couple of days ago, my love and I were discussing this old saying. Here is what we discovered. I learned through time the true meaning of this term has evolved. Today it basically has plural meanings. One often refers to a dirt row garden. The second one goes back many years. 

What is the origin of ‘a long row to hoe’

Commonly misspelled for years, resulting in many people picturing an incorrect interpretation. It is actually the nautical phrase, “A long rode to ho”.

A ‘rode’ is a length of chain and rope that is put out from a ship to it’s anchor. A long rode is required when it is windy or stormy. ‘To pull a rope (or line)’ on a ship is ‘to ho’. Hence the term “heave ho”. The crew will advance on the rope on the command “Heave” and pull on the command “Ho”. If it is stormy and/or windy, the long rode to ho is hard work and takes a long time to accomplish.

Just envision a sailor saying, “It’s a long rode to ho.”

My hometown is Shreveport. It is named after Steam Boat Captain Henry Shreve, the son of a Revolutionary War hero. Henry founded Shreve Landing in the early 1800’s. From Shreve Landing, it became Shreveport. Some still pronounce it today as Shreve’s Port.

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Shreveport, the Highland neighborhood, is still filled with homes built in the early 1900’s. When Captain Shreve first landed on the west bank of the Red River, the river was filled with a giant log jam that stretched for hundreds of miles. The jam caused the river to back up into lowlands. Settlers sought dry, high ground to camp and later build homes. South of downtown Shreveport are high rolling hills. Thus the Highland community was created. Today there is a common struggle here. The once lovely neighborhood which encompassed approximately nine square miles was filled with stately mansions and fine crafted two story homes. The rich and famous of Shreveport built and settled there. Today it is a sad sight. Yes, many of the fine homes still stand. However, with evolution, aging and years of decay those homes were sold to slum lords. Only about 30 percent of the homes have been salvaged by young couples. They have been renovated and many can be found in the archives in the National Historical Register.

Most of the others are now multi-family rent houses. Not surprisingly, it has large sections one would consider ghetto. A by-product of this common urban evolution is crime. Highland is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in our lovely city.

During my 22 years of police service, I know of at least three serial rapists who struck in the Highland neighborhood a few years apart. For many reasons, these rapists targeted this neighborhood. As I reflect on these awful men, I realize the neighborhood was, as we say in the South, “ripe for the picking”. The community made it easy to become a target. The old structures were easy to break in. Locks and windows were old and easily overcome or bypassed. In those days, many single, young college girls lived in these rent houses attending nearby Centenary College and Louisiana State Medical School, later known as Louisianan State University Medical Center or L.S.U.M.C.

The local newspaper dubbed the suspect as the Highland Rapist. For almost a year, numerous young women were viciously attacked in their homes. Late at night while asleep, they would wake to a stranger in their beds. He was a young, white male. He was often armed and wore a ski mask. Under threats to their lives, they were forced to submit to vaginal, oral and anal sexual assaults. Many of these girls were virgins and each victim was scarred for life in their minds and hearts. Most would need counseling and treatment. Many of the victims required surgical treatments after assault by this awful animal.

At the time of The Highland Rapist, I had been married only a year. My wife, Robbin, was born and raised in Yazoo City, Mississippi. A few of my friends, who knew me too well, kidded me. They said I had to go out of state to find a woman to marry me, one who did not know better. Regardless, I married up. I was working graveyard shift in the investigative bureau. I seem to recall we had about 20 detectives assigned to day shift, 20 on evening shift and 10 on graveyard shift. It must have been after the third rape we realized we were dealing with a serial rapist. One who was mean, hurtful and enjoyed subjecting his helpless victims to pain, humiliation and suffering. In those days, we had a couple of special investigative units within division. We had auto theft, white collar crime and sex crimes. The sex crimes unit consisted of a day shift detective who worked days with weekends off. All of the rapes occurred at night. Night shift detectives responded to the patrol calls at the crime scenes and conducted the initial investigations. These cases landed on the desk of the sex crimes investigator. I personally responded to a couple of the rape scenes within minutes after the attacks.

I saw first hand the pain, humiliation and mental suffering of the victims. I was and am human. I have feelings. There is a bond that forms. I took on their hurt even if they did not realize the yoke I took upon myself. Though it has been years, I still hear their trembling voices telling me the bad things he did to them. I saw their hearts breaking. I saw many of their thoughts. They would never have a normal relationship with a man. When and if they married, the nightmares would never leave. Each time they would make love to the one who loved them, it would bring back these awful memories. These cases touched my inner soul. I promised each victim I would catch him. I would stop him from hurting another person. Deep within me, I was powerfully motivated to do my job, to do my best to find the hollow words of bringing “closure”.  Strange how we use this term. There is no such thing as closure! There will never be.

Month by month, I responded to victims of the Highland Rapist. Every officer and detective on our department was frustrated and angered he was getting away with these horrible crimes.

Public pressure was felt throughout our agency. Media, civic leaders, elected officials were applying pressure on us. When officers took meal breaks in cafes, they heard men whisper under their breath, “Why are these cops eating instead of catching the Highland Rapist?” The same happened to me several times in public which motivated me even more.

Each night when I reported to work, I attended the shift change briefings. Every night we were updated on the status of the case lead by the sex crimes investigator. We learned he had zeroed in on a mail carrier. We learned the man matched the description, worked in the neighborhood and knew the lay of the land very well. He knew the names of the victims, where they lived and likely that they were young and single. As a mail carrier, he was overlooked by our department as a trusted public servant. As the focus on the mailman continued, I became even more frustrated. I heard through the grapevine several day shift detectives were assisting the sex crimes investigator. They were conducting a detailed background investigation on this mail carrier. I was told they were staking him out, he was under around-the-clock surveillance. As days passed, evidence on the mailman was building. This small team of day shift detectives seemed determined to build a case against him. Circumstantial evidence was being established and it was rumored the team was in constant talks with an assistant district attorney. I was told they were planning to take the case against the mailman to a grand jury and have him indicted for these rapes. I had my doubts. Day shift detectives, for the most part, were good guys. They were married and many had children. They were active in church and most worked two jobs to make ends meet at home. I liked most of them. To be completely honest, I did not respect them as much as I respected the more dedicated investigators who made personal sacrifice and worked evenings and nights. We were always away from our spouses at night while the day guys slumbered next to theirs. I still feel you cannot solve major crimes working 9 to 5. You cannot give a case all it deserves if you stop on a hot lead to clock off duty and head to your second job. Every day I saw this behavior. Within the family of the Shreveport Police Department, we have many divisions, Patrol, Radar, Walking Beats, Lake Patrol, Internal Investigations and several Administrative units and Major Crimes Investigations over its three shifts.

According to the dictionary, a Polygamist is a person who has more than one husband or wife at the same time.

In my many dedicated years as a cop, I somewhat considered myself a polygamist. I was married to Robbin and at the same time I was married to S.P.D. I was in love with Robbin and almost, but in another way, in love with my police department. I adored her (S.P.D.). I yearned for her when I was on my days off. I could not stop thinking of her and missing her. It was like falling in love with a prostitute. You can love her with all your heart but like a whore, she will take everything you are willing to give her. She will please you but it does not last. When you are broken, she will leave you penniless and used.

Finally, I had enough. I did not respect the detectives who were bent on indicting the mailman. I was compelled to act. One afternoon I went to the station before the brass was off duty. I walked into the Chief of Detectives office and asked if I could have a moment of his time. He liked me, well kinda. I told him I feared a very weak case was being constructed against the mailman. I had a plan to actually apprehend the real rapist. He gave me a few minutes of his time.

In my opinion, the only way to actually catch the rapist was to form a special team of officers. Unfortunately, it would have to occur after the next rape. I wanted to hand pick the best street cops in our department. I wanted 10 officers and I would lead the team. Highland is a typical inner city neighborhood. It is laid out in a standard square block grid with streets running east, west, north and south. It is very old and still had active alleyways made of gravel.

In the 60’s when Dr. Martin Luther King lead the civil rights movement in the South, his crowds of mostly black citizens marched through many southern cities. At that time, most southern law enforcement agencies were dominated by big, bully type redneck cops. They carried long knight sticks and many were partnered with German Shepherd attack dogs. S.P.D. included. These bad dogs were unleashed on the protesters many times and attacked them unmercifully. As the years passed, most departments discontinued the use of K-9’s. In the 80’s, S.P.D. refused to use K-9’s because it would fan the flames of racial history and abuse. While many East Coast, Northern and West Coast departments were using dogs to sniff out drugs, guns, robbers, rapists and track lost children and old folks who wandered away from nursing homes, S.P.D. was not allowed to use them because of the stigma.

I knew of a man in Mooringsport, LA. who owned and trained dogs for search and rescue. The good news was he did not train them to attack people. I contacted him to ask if he was willing to donate his time, skill and dog to a special police operation. He quickly agreed. The chief was not keen on my plan, but due to public pressure, he gave his approval.

By midnight, I had contacted the 10 best street cops our department had to offer. We met that night downstairs in the patrol roll call room. For hours, we collectively formulated our plan. We hung a big map of Highland and studied it. We assigned the teams into two sub teams. The first team, the inner circle, and the second team, the outer circle. We would work from 9:00 P.M. until 6:00 A.M. seven nights a week. The officers wore blue jeans, tennis shoes, t-shirts and drove unmarked units. Our teams responded to every prowler and suspicious person call, including every rape report, within seconds.

Months passed. We worked each and every night with the dog trainer and his lovable Shepherd called Joe. Joe looked fierce but was really just a big puppy. However, he was the best dang tracking dog I have seen. He was trained to follow the scent of lost children until they were found. He had rescued several elderly residents of nursing homes who had wandered away. At no time did he attempt to bite anyone he tracked.

It was long, hard work. We had a “long rode to ho”! For over three months, I rode with the man and his big, brown dog who, by the way, stunk to high heaven! Joe was an outside dog. His trainer felt giving him a bath would harm his tracking ability so he never bathed. When I returned home from work each morning, I smelled just like Joe.

Every night our team grew better. We learned every inch of Highland. We learned the odd numbers were always located on the north side of streets. This helped us respond. It gave us vital insight on the exact house that initiated the prowler call. Every night on the street, we became more proficient and coordinated. When we rolled up on these type calls, the perimeter was set up in seconds. If the suspect was spotted crossing the visual line made by Team 1, the officer spotting him radioed description, exact location and direction of travel. The dog handler had trained all team officers to protect the scene of any prowler, burglar or rapist. When the dog arrived at the point of attempted or accomplished entry, he could take up the track and go after the bad guy.

We rolled on prowler calls night after night. We often learned the culprits were raccoons trying to remove trash can lids to find food. We did however catch men we suspected as the rapist who were actually peeping toms. Note: Most peeping toms are men in the early stages of becoming an actual rapist. They begin by peeping into bedroom and bathroom windows. Eventually they graduate from just looking to one day forcing their way into a home and attacking their victims. Most rapists I arrested did start as peeping toms.

Once the special response team was established, the detectives focusing on the mailman slowed down their investigation. They wanted badly to ride in and save the day by making THE ARREST OF THE HIGHLAND RAPIST, or as we would say, “Cut a fat hog in the ass”. They would look like fools if the mailman was sitting in jail while the special response team actually caught the rapist. There is another saying in our judicial system, “You can indict a ham sandwich”.  I suspected the mailman team was determined to use this approach. So they returned to their daily investigative routines of reading reports, writing reports, drinking gallons of coffee, planning today’s lunch destination and generally watching the clock, counting the minutes until clock out time.

If you have the feeling I have disdain for lazy, clock watchers who never fully apply their abilities in investigations, you now understand me as they did. Most guys on day shift were smart, educated and knew how to work a real investigation but were too lazy to do so. As with most agencies, we too had our share of good ole boys who brown nose their way into the bureau. I love old southern sayings so here is another, “It’s a crying shame!” meaning it is an unfortunate situation. It was sad to watch the once lovely neighborhood of Highland crumble into a stinking ghetto day by day. It was sad to know our department patrol division had many young officers willing, able and wanting more than anything to be promoted to investigator. It sickened them to see positions filled with unworthy people preventing them from living their dream to be an investigator.

Our special team worked seven days a week for many months until I finally surrendered to my other wife, the one I legally married. Robbin’s parents lived in her hometown of Yazoo City, MS. They wanted us to come for an overdue visit. I confess, it was with tremendous reluctance and hesitation to leave my other wife, the case, and make the journey. In the Chief of Detectives office once again, the good news was since we formed our team, the Highland Rapist had not struck again. The bad news was the possibility our team was seen by the rapist and he quit or moved to another city. I then presented the other bad news. I asked for three days off to take my wife home for a family visit. The chief frowned in silence for an unreasonable time. My hands began to sweat and I worried he would either deny my request or, worse, shut down the special team costing taxpayers large sums of tax dollars without results.

I watched him light up another smoke. As the cloud traveled across the room and surrounded my non-smoking head, I began to feel dizzy. I held my breath as best I could.

“OK, Pat! Take your little lady home for three days. Enjoy yourself! Then get your ass back here and ride with that damn dog till this bastard’s caught!”

“Yes, sir.”

To put it mildly, I was on edge the entire time we were in Yazoo City. No, I did not enjoy myself, Chief! There are events in our lives burned into our memories. One of those events occurred around 11:00 that Sunday night. Robbin and I were in a late model Oldsmobile. We had one of the first cell phones, a Bag Phone. It was plugged into the cigarette lighter port resting on the transmission hump near the front seat. We were heading west on I-20 about halfway across the Mississippi River bridge when the bag phone rang. Have you heard a phone ring and know deep down it is not good news? Then you know how I felt as I answered the call. The voice on the other end was a detective buddy who worked evenings. He was a real detective. I loved him for his skill, passion and integrity. At the end of the call that night, I had mixed feelings.

“Hello.”

“Hey Pat….Charlie here.”

“What’s going on Charlie?”

“Well, I have good news!”

My stomach was in a knot.

“What’s the news, Charlie?”

“Well, you won’t believe it but they caught your guy tonight! He’s in jail. Seems he hit a house in Highland. He attacked another woman, fled on foot. The team swept in and set up on him. He was spotted running across the street through the inner perimeter and the second team closed in on him. The inner team closed in with them and pinned him to within a single block. He was jumping backyard fences and teams narrowed the circle into a half block. That old dog picked up his scent and tracked him. The dog and handler were with your replacement and they continued to track the suspect. Then they jumped him and he broke from his hiding spot in the bushes and went over several fences. You know that dammed rookie cop named Mezzellie?”

“”Yeah, I picked him for the team.”

“Well, he spotted the guy. The dog was tracking but the dog was big and the handler was having a hard time lifting the dog over all those fences and keeping him on the leash so he unsnapped him and let him go. The dog caught up with the dude but did not bite him. He just trotted along beside him until Mezzellie caught up and tackled him in the backyard. Your replacement helped cuff the dude. He was arrested and is giving recorded confessions in our jail upstairs to the rape.”

Charlie went on. “I just wanted to congratulate you and your team for a job well done. The brass is celebrating big time tonight. Good job, Pat!”

Needless to say, I was speeding toward Shreveport. Thankfully I did not see a radar cop as I drove across the northern part of our state.

In what I still think is a land speed record, Robbin and I arrived in Shreveport under three hours. She patiently snoozed outside S.P.D. in the car while I spent an hour being briefed and congratulating the special team one by one.

I am still haunted by these words,  “Pat, you should have been here man!”

Over the next few days, the story of Mezzellie, told by the rank and file patrol officers, went like this…Ole Chuck Mezzellie is so fast in a foot chase, he outran the old tracking dog and tackled the guy all by himself.

Well, Ole Chuck, the special team and myself later received departmental commendations for our work. These are often referred to as “atta-boys”. With a stack of them and two dollars, one can go to a local coffee shop for a cup and cover the tip with just enough to make the waitress never want to serve you again.

Most of the accolades from the front office, the rape crisis center organization and media were showered upon the day shift investigator who had intended to seek an  indictment against the wrong guy, the mailman. He did not seem reluctant to accept the hero worship after only working with the team those three nights.

I confess. I was deeply disappointed. The ones deserving the recognition were the men and women on the special response team.

Oh, well. I smile as I write this. It reminds me of a commercial. “Remember the time you drove into your garage with your new bicycles strapped to the roof of your car? Just let it go.” I laugh now and ultimately I did let it all go!

Danny Goodson was the Highland Rapist. We had never heard of him until he was tracked down and arrested by our little team. No, he was not a mailman.

As I recall, he was suspected in over 12 reported rapes. Statistics indicate many rapes go unreported. The victims are too stricken or too embarrassed to go public with an official police report. I feel comfortable in saying, I suspect Goodson raped over 20 women in his day. He hurt many women and their families. Is it wrong for me to wish him a sentence of pain and suffering for eternity in that Lake of Fire? If so, please forgive me, cause I truly do.

STATE v. GOODSON | 437 So.2d 1174 (1983) | 2d117411335 | Leagle.com

STATE v. GOODSON

Henry N. Brown, Jr., Dist. Atty., Benton, for appellee.

PRICE, Judge.

Defendant, Danny Goodson, was indicted by the Bossier Parish Grand Jury on one count of aggravated rape (La.R.S. 14:42). The defendant was arraigned and pled not guilty. Following trial by jury the defendant was found guilty as charged and sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment. The defendant has appealed his conviction on the basis of two assignments of error.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND:

During the ten-month period between November 1980 and early September 1981, a series of rapes occurred in the Highland area of Shreveport in Caddo Parish. Police authorities theorized the rapes were being perpetrated by one individual and the news media in its extensive coverage of these events began referring to the sought after criminal as the “Highland Rapist.” The defendant herein, Danny Goodson, was arrested on September 7, 1981, in the Highland area a short distance from the scene of a rape that had been reported a few moments earlier.

Goodson was interrogated for several days and confessed to twelve rapes, burglaries, and attempted rapes in the Highland area. He was also interrogated by Bossier City authorities and confessed to the July 25, 1981, rape of a 20-year-old woman which gave rise to the conviction now being reviewed. Goodson was indicted on September 29, 1981, by the Caddo Parish Grand Jury on six counts of aggravated rape, two counts of attempted rape, two counts of aggravated crime against nature, and two counts of attempted aggravated burglary and simple burglary. He was arraigned and pled not guilty on all charges on October 9, 1981. All of these events as well as the subject charge in Bossier now under review were well publicized by Shreveport newspapers, television, and radio. Goodson’s name was published as well as his photograph.

Following his indictment by the Bossier Parish Grand Jury on September 25, 1981, for aggravated rape and his plea of not guilty at arraignment on October 5, 1981, Goodson filed a pre trial motion for a change of venue. The motion was denied and writs were granted by the Louisiana Supreme Court who ultimately vacated the trial court’s ruling and remanded the case with instructions to defer a ruling of the motion for change of venue until after completion of voir dire. State v. Goodson, 412 So.2d 1077 (La.1982). Defendant’s trial began on June 14, 1981, and at the conclusion of the voir dire, the motion for change of venue was again urged and overruled. The trial continued and resulted in defendant’s conviction of the crime charged.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 1:

Goodson first complains of the trial court’s failure to sustain his challenge for cause as to prospective jurors James A. Fromme, Arlan R. Neill, and Myra G. Odum. These challenges were based on guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in its opinion remanding with instructions to the trial court to defer its ruling on the motion for a change of venue until completion of the voir dire. The Supreme Court in State v. Goodson, supra, directed that the voir dire examination be governed by the American Bar Association’s Standards Relating to Fair Trial and Free Press, Sec. 8-3.5, 1978, and to follow these guidelines:

Both the degree of exposure and the prospective juror’s testimony as to state of mind are relevant to the determination of acceptability. A prospective juror testifying to an inability to overcome preconceptions shall be subject to challenge for cause no matter how slight the exposure. If the prospective juror remembers information that will be developed in the course of the trial, or that may be inadmissible but does not create a substantial risk of impairing judgment, that person’s acceptability shall turn on the credibility of testimony as to impartiality. If the formation of an opinion is admitted, the prospective juror shall be subject to challenge for cause unless the examination shows unequivocally the capacity to be impartial. A prospective juror who has been exposed to and remembers reports of highly significant information, such as the existence or contents of a confession, or other incriminating matters that may be inadmissible in evidence, or substantial amounts of inflammatory material, shall be subject to challenge for cause without regard to the prospective juror’s testimony as to state of mind.Prospective juror Fromme testified during voir dire that he had heard accounts of the defendant’s involvement in the Highland area rapes but was unfamiliar with the instant offense because he had been out of town. Mr. Fromme testified that he was not familiar with the specific facts of the Highland rapes, only that he remembered hearing the defendant’s name. Mr. Fromme testified repeatedly that he disassociated the defendant from the rapes in the Highland area. For example we quote his testimony in part:

Q Okay. Knowing that—that the—Mr. Goodson is the fellow that was connected at least by the newspaper with those incidents over in the Highland area, can you totally put that out of your mind? A I believe I could, sir. * * * * * * A I don’t really think so. I think I would accept each one as they’re—what the—what he’s being charged for. This is Bossier. This is where I live, and this is what I would be more concerned with. And, like I say, I read the papers, but I don’t read everything that’s in the papers. * * * * * * VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION BY MR. BROWN Q Do you have any preconceived opinion as to guilt or innocence in this case? A No, sir. Q Will you judge this case solely on the basis of the evidence presented to you? A Yes, sir. Q Without any kind of uh—idea about what may have been said in the newspaper about this defendant anywhere else? A Yes, sir. I believe I could. * * * * * * THE COURT: Do you remember any significant details of the Shreveport offenses? A No, sir, I don’t. THE COURT: Do you know any significant detail of the Bossier offense for which this case is about— A No, this one I— THE COURT: —that is the Bossier charge? A This one I wasn’t even familiar. I don’t—I don’t really remember reading anything about this. THE COURT: Has the material that you have read, has it appeared to be inflammatory to you? A Uh—I would say probably some of the stuff that was put in the Shreveport paper about the Highland area. I don’t know what you mean about inflammatory. If you mean does this cause me to form a judgment just by what I read, I don’t not from what I read. * * * * * * THE COURT: Well, let me just put it to you this way. If you were selected as a juror, and at that trial there was no mention of any evidence concerning the Highland rapist or any rapes that happened in Shreveport, would you be able to decide the facts of this case in total disregard of what had happened over in Shreveport, Caddo Parish, and in total disregard of what you read in the newspaper? A I believe I could from the evidence that was given to me. THE COURT: All right. Now, I want to know is there any doubt or equivocation in your mind about that? A No, sir.The Supreme Court ruled that both the degree of exposure and the prospective juror’s state of mind are relevant to the determination of acceptability. In the instant case, Mr. Fromme knew little about either the Highland offenses or the offenses involved at present. He appeared unaware of any of the victims or of the defendant’s confession. Mr. Fromme’s exposure to the case was minimal. In light of his numerous assertions that he could be open-minded with regard to the defendant, it must be said that his state of mind in no way prejudiced the defendant. Using the guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court, the trial court acted correctly in denying the defendant’s challenge for cause.

A second prospective juror for whom challenge for cause was denied was Arlan R. Neill. Mr. Neill testified that he was aware of the defendant’s possible connection with the Highland rapist, having read most of the accounts that were published at that time. He knew the general range of ages of the Highland victims. Importantly, Mr. Neill was not aware of any confession made by the defendant to the authorities. Although Mr. Neill was familiar with the Highland rapes, he was emphatic that he would judge the defendant on the evidence presented. In particular:

Q Well, did—did—did you find that from reading what you read about the incidences, did you create a sense of outrage or a sense of ill will toward the man identified in the paper as Danny Goodson? A No. I can’t say that. Uh—I think my reaction was, Well, the authorities apparently believe that they have, you know, gotten the man responsible for the—the crimes. I can’t say that I’m not aggravated over the fact that such crimes were committed, but I don’t associate that necessarily with, you know, the individual. I’m well aware of trial process and the fact that, you know, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Q Yes, sir. Now, with remembering all that you’ve read about it in the paper, knowing that this is Danny Goodson that’s on trial here, and knowing that he’s accused of several rapes in Shreveport, if you’re chosen as a juror, can you put that totally out of your mind and—while we’re sitting through this trial? A I would judge the man on the evidence that’s presented. Q Well, what I’m asking you, though, is is that going to be in your mind— A Is if—is the other things that I have read going to cloud my mind in the issue. Q Well, are you going to be thinking about—are they going to, say, cross your mind while you’re considering this? A I don’t think so. Q Do you think that possibly, say just as a hypothetical situation, that you’re listening to this evidence in this case, and it came down to a—it was close—it was a close case as far as the proof, you were— you were right there on the border line, would the fact that you remembered that he’s accused of several rapes in Shreveport, would that make you more likely to believe he was guilty of this rape? A No. It’s entirely two different questions.Again, considering the Supreme Court’s guidelines concerning exposure and state of mind, it is apparent that the trial court ruled correctly in denying the challenge for cause.

The third and final prospective juror for whom a challenge for cause was denied was Myra G. Odum. Mrs. Odum testified that she had only heard the defendant’s name in connection with the Highland rapes, but was unaware of what the Highland rapes were about. She was equivocal about her ability to remain impartial as evidenced by the following:

Q Now, is that going to—are you going to be able to put that out of your mind when you—if you’re chosen as a juror here? Are you going to be able to put it out of your mind that Mr. Goodson has been accused of some rapes in Caddo Parish? A I would hope so. I—I’m not sure. I guess—I guess I could. I— Q Well, if—if—if you can’t, we’d like to—there’s no right or wrong answer— A Um hum. (Affirmative) Q —to these questions. We just want an honest answer. A I would say I would probably be able to put that out away from everything else. Q Okay. Let me ask—ask you this way. Now, if you were listening to the evidence here in this case, and it came down to where it was a real close case, you were having a hard time deciding because the evidence was close, and you were right there on the border line between guilty and not guilty. Would the fact that you remembered Mr. Goodson was accused of several other rapes somewhere else, would that make you think that he’s more likely had done this one? A Probably. Q So you think that it could be a possibility that if you were chosen as a juror here in this case, that what you know about Mr. Goodson from what you’ve read and heard, could make a difference in your decision. A Possibly. Upon defendant’s challenge for cause, the trial court ruled that no foundation had been laid to justify his challenge; that it was not shown that Mrs. Odum had been highly exposed or that she had already formed an opinion concerning the defendant’s guilt or innocence. We agree with the trial court. Mrs. Odum exhibited no prejudicial opinions regarding the defendant. She appeared willing to apply the law to the facts of this instant charge without reference to other charges relating to the defendant.The trial court in all three instances followed the guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court in State v. Goodson, supra. The jurors challenged either had little exposure to the Highland rapes or exhibited no prejudice toward the defendant.

This assignment of error lacks merit.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 2:

By his final assignment of error, defendant argues that the trial court erred in failing to grant defendant’s motion for change of venue. It is the defendant’s position that media coverage of the Highland rapist and the defendant’s association with that coverage, prejudiced the defendant’s right to a fair and impartial trial in Bossier Parish.

Extensive media coverage was given to the Highland rapist during the months preceding and following defendant’s arrest. The defendant was immediately identified as the person the police believed to be the Highland rapist. The defendant’s confessions were widely publicized.

On the original motion to suppress, the trial judge found that although the media publicity had been extensive and that the Shreveport media had coverage over the entirety of Bossier Parish, the relator had not shown that the reports were inflammatory or that prejudice existed against him in the Bossier Parish public mind. The trial court also noted that the jury would be drawn from the entire parish of Bossier, much of which is situated some distance from the Highland area of Shreveport in Caddo Parish, and the site in Bossier City where the charged offenses occurred.

The Louisiana Supreme Court as mentioned earlier, granted writs to review the trial court’s ruling. The Supreme Court ruled that the trial court should delay ruling on the motion for change of venue until after voir dire. The Court gave the following instructions:

Since there is a significant possibility that individual jurors will be ineligible to serve because of exposure to potentially prejudicial material, the examination of each juror with respect to exposure shall take place outside the presence of other chosen and prospective jurors. An accurate record of this examination shall be kept by court reporter or tape recording whenever possible. The questioning shall be conducted for the purpose of determining what the prospective juror has read and heard about the case and how any exposure has affected that person’s attitude toward the trial, not to convince the prospective juror that an inability to cast aside any preconceptions would be a dereliction of duty.Jury selection was conducted pursuant to these instructions. An accurate record of the examination was kept. That record reveals that of the 52 jurors called in the selection of 12 jurors, only 16 were challenged for cause due to publicity. The transcript of voir dire examination indicates that the majority of the venire was either unaware or unconcerned about who the defendant was.

The motion for change of venue was properly denied based on the instructions provided by the Supreme Court. This assignment of error is therefore without merit.

For the foregoing reasons, the conviction and sentence of defendant, Danny Goodson, are AFFIRMED.

AFFIRMED.

State v. Goodson, 444 So. 2d 1337

Louisiana Court of Appeal

444 So. 2d 1337 (1984)

STATE of Louisiana, Appellee,

v.

Danny GOODSON, Appellant.

No. 15660-KA.Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit.

January 16, 1984.Rehearing Denied February 23, 1984.Writ Denied April 13, 1984.*1338 Donald R. Minor, Indigent Defender Office, Shreveport, for appellant.

William J. Guste, Jr., Atty. Gen., Baton Rouge, Paul J. Carmouche, Dist. Atty., Robert W. Gillespie, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., Shreveport, for appellee.

Before HALL, MARVIN and SEXTON, JJ.

MARVIN, Judge.

After a change of venue because of the notoriety given to the violent activities of the Highland Rapist in Shreveport in 1981, defendant Goodson, who was indicted for an aggravated rape occurring in the Highland area, was convicted of forcible rape by a jury in Ouachita Parish. LRS 14:42.1.

In this appeal of his conviction and sentence, Goodson contends that inculpatory statements he made while in custody should have been suppressed because the police did not have “probable cause” to arrest him and because the statements were “induced,” contrary to LRS 15:451. In his second assignment, Goodson contends that his sentence to the maximum term for forcible rape was constitutionally excessive and was not justified because the trial court considered other indictments for rapes that were pending against Goodson. We affirm the conviction and the sentence.

In response to the series of rapes occurring in the Highland area during 1981, the Shreveport police had organized their efforts to apprehend the rapist and had made known the general description and modus operandi of the rapist which had been reported by other victims. About one a.m. on September 7, 1981, the victim of this crime, who lived in the Highland area, telephoned Shreveport police to report the crime. A second telephone call was made minutes later by another woman, also from her home in the Highland area of Shreveport, who reported that someone was attempting to break into her home.

The description of the rapist given by the victim in this case—blondish brown hair, broad shoulders, stocking mask, blue denim jacket, dark pants, and shoes like tennis shoes—conformed to the description already known to the police. The police radio simply broadcast the occurrence and location of the crime with the description that it looked like “the Highland boy again.” Reaction teams of police that had been organized to apprehend the Highland Rapist sprang into action.

One officer on a team assigned to secure the four-block area around the victim’s home saw a man running in the area and reported this by radio. Another officer-detective on the team, who was in an alley within a block of the victim’s home, heard this broadcast and saw a person appear from the shadows in the alley and abruptly run away. This detective gave chase, yelling “Stop! Police! Stop! Police!” Another officer, hearing the shout of the detective, spotted defendant and ran after him, eventually catching defendant three or four blocks away after defendant had jumped a fence and into the back yard of a residence. The detective and other officers quickly arrived, arrested, and handcuffed Goodson and gave him the required Miranda warnings. LSA-Const. Art. 1, § 13.

*1339 Goodson was then immediately taken to the police station where he made, at different times, three detailed and recorded inculpatory statements to police after again being given Mirandawarnings. In these statements, Goodson confessed to the rape of the victim in this crime, to the attempted break-in of the home of the other woman, and to at least a dozen other rapes and numerous burglaries which had occurred in the Highland area during the preceding eight months. Goodson also gave a recorded statement to Bossier City detectives which resulted in his being convicted in Bossier Parish of the crime of aggravated rape before the trial of this case.

Goodson’s counsel argues that while the police might have had a reasonable suspicion or reasonable belief under CCrP Art. 215.1 to stop and interrogate Goodson, they did not have the reasonable [probable] cause required under CCrP Art. 213 to arrest him without a warrant.[1]

UNLAWFUL ARREST?

In addition to the circumstances detailed above, the detective who had initiated the chase and who immediately caught up with Goodson after the other officer apprehended him, noticed that Goodson’s tennis shoes had the distinctive and, to him, the familiar, sole design of one or more shoe prints found in the area of other rapes and burglaries in the Highland area.

Goodson was apprehended within about 13 minutes of the victim’s report to the police and within three or four blocks of the victim’s home. A glove found on the fence over which defendant jumped matched a glove found on defendant’s other hand when he was caught. A flashlight and screwdriver protruding from Goodson’s pocket were seized by the police. No other stranger was seen in the area under surveillance by the police. Defendant was wearing clothing and shoes of the type described by victims of earlier rapes in the area. Goodson contends that these factors, which support probable cause, are mitigated by the fact that the police were dressed in plainclothes, that a german shepherd attack dog was turned loose and growled at him when the chase started, and that Goodson and the public knew that unauthorized “vigilantes” sometimes voluntarily patrolled the neighborhood because of the frequency of rape and burglary in the area. The detective who initiated the chase testified that because of the darkness in the alley, he was “not even sure [he] could have told … it was a white male or black male at the time we started chasing him.”

Goodson argues then that the detective-arresting officer did not have articulable knowledge of particular facts to meet the reasonable suspicion or reasonable belief of the stop and interrogate article or to meet the reasonable cause-probable cause of the arrest without a warrant article. We cannot agree. Factors that defendant overlooks are also important to the determination, which must be made on a case to case basis from the totality of the particular circumstances. State v. Flowers,441 So. 2d 1288 (La.1983).

The totality of the circumstances of the particular case determine whether the requisite belief exists in either case, but several factors are often emphasized in cases making the determination. See State v. Williams, 416 So. 2d 91 (La.1982); State v. Johnson, 422 So. 2d 1125 (La.1982); State v. Bailey,410 So. 2d 1123 (La.1982); State v. Collins, 378 So. 2d 928 (La.1979).

—Was the area a “high crime area?” The frequency and notoriety of rapes and burglaries in the Highland area answer affirmatively.

*1340 —The time of day? It was one o’clock in the morning.

—Frequency of other persons in the area? No other stranger was seen in the four block area under surveillance.

—Any suspicious activity or flight of the suspect? Goodson was running when the first officer spotted him. Goodson retreated into the shadows of the alley and ran when the detective spotted him and yelled at him to stop.

—Had a crime been reported before the stop or the arrest? Yes, by two different possible victims in the area.

—Other factors? The arresting detective was familiar with the distinctive shoe sole of the tennis shoes worn by Goodson and with the general description and m.o. of the Highland rapist. Goodson’s appearance, shoes, jacket, gloves, and flashlight corresponded to the descriptions which had been given to the police by other persons.

Under these circumstances, reasonable cause to detain and interrogate Goodson existed and immediately ripened into probable cause to arrest when Goodson fled and was forcibly stopped and observed by the officers. Goodson’s complaint of being immediately handcuffed is also without merit. Where reasonable suspicion or reasonable belief for a CCrP 215.1 stop exists and the person whose temporary detention is requested attempts to evade or to flee from such detention, a police officer may use reasonable force to effect the detention, just as he may use reasonable force to effect an arrest. See CCrP Art. 220. The officers who were on the apprehension team knew that some victims of earlier rapes had reported that the Highland rapist was armed with a knife. Under the circumstances shown, the officer who first stopped Goodson’s flight did not use unreasonable force in stopping him or in immediately handcuffing him. The detective who arrived a second or so later had probable cause to formally arrest Goodson after more closely observing the things mentioned in the light of that detective’s earlier knowledge of the appearance and m.o. of the rapist. We find no merit in Goodson’s contention that his arrest was unlawful.

CONFESSIONS INDUCED?

Defendant signed numerous Miranda acknowledgments once he was in custody. He gave three recorded statements to Shreveport police and one to Bossier police and in each instance acknowledged his Miranda rights and that he was voluntarily making the statements, without being subjected to force or intimidation or promises of anything. Additionally, Goodson signed consent forms volunteering saliva, blood, and other samples from his person and consenting to a search of his residence and vehicle. Goodson admitted to “at least a dozen” rapes in the Highland area of Shreveport and at least one in Bossier. He confessed to at least one rape that was never reported to police by the victim. He denied some other rapes, and particularly some very violent ones, about which he was questioned.

To be admissible against a defendant, a confession must be shown to a confession must be shown to have been freely and voluntarily made without the influence of fear, duress, intimidation, menaces, threats, inducements, or promises. LRS 15:451; State v. Jackson, 381 So. 2d 485, 487 (La.1980). See also State v. Hall, 434 So. 2d 517 (La.App. 2d Cir.1983).

The trial court obviously did not accept defendant’s version that his confession was made because he was promised psychiatric help or induced to believe that he would get such help if he cooperated with the police. Goodson was told by detectives who questioned him during his first confession that he did not fit their expectations of him as a hardened and vicious type rapist and he was told by the chief of detectives during a later confession that the detectives who had been questioning him would “treat him right.” When these comments are considered as a part of the total circumstances surrounding all of Goodson’s statements, they cannot be said to be promises or inducements within the purview of LRS 15:451. Compare the remarks in other cases discussed in State v. Hall, supra, where statements to a defendant such as, “anybody who tried to help themselves *1341 usually got help” and “things would go easier” if cooperation was shown, were held not to constitute promises or inducements within the statutory purview in particular circumstances. We find no merit to Goodson’s contention that his confessions were induced. Goodson’s confessions were admissible.

SENTENCE ERROR?

Contending that the sentence is excessive, Goodson emphasizes the “erroneous” conclusion of the sentencing judge that there were no mitigating circumstances. He suggests that the jury found mitigating circumstances by returning the lesser verdict of forcible rape instead of guilty as charged of aggravated rape and that the court’s consideration of the other indictments against Goodson permits punishment to be exacted without the requisite conviction for those crimes. Again, Goodson misconstrues the law and the totality of circumstances shown in this record.

While there is truth in the adage that punishment should “fit” the crime, the law requires that the punishment be individualized to “fit” the defendant. State v. Jackson, 360 So. 2d 842 (La.1978); State v. Cruz, 430 So. 2d 161 (La.App. 2d Cir.1983). The court noted its sentencing considerations and the record illumines other factors within the CCrP Art. 894.1 guidelines. The court mentioned the relatively young age of defendant (28), the circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history, his admission to a dozen rapes and his conviction in Bossier Parish of aggravated rape.

CCrP Art. 894.1 provides criteria for the determination whether a particular sentence is constitutionally excessive. State v. Sepulvado, 367 So. 2d 762 (La.1979). The sentencing judge has much discretion in applying these and any other relevant factors. State v. Hammonds, 434 So. 2d452 (La.App. 2d Cir.1983). Imposition of the maximum sentence in any case must be “justified” by the particular circumstances of the crime as well as of the individual defendant. See State v. Telsee, 425So. 2d 1251 (La.1983).

While the factors of CCrP Art. 894.1 are placed in two categories, this categorization into aggravating and mitigating circumstances does not limit the trial judge’s wide discretion. Hammonds, supra. For instance, the fact that a defendant has no history of prior criminal activity and has led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time is expressly made a mitigating factor which the trial court shallconsider. Art. 894.1 B(7) The converse of this fact [that the defendant has a recent criminal history] certainly is an aggravating type factor which the trial court may consider in imposing sentence. The sentencing guidelines direct the trial court’s consideration to many factors which, whether expressed or implied in terms of aggravation or of mitigation, may assist the court in individualizing the sentence of the particular defendant. We find that the maximum sentence was justified for this particular defendant and is not constitutionally excessive.

Conviction and sentence are AFFIRMED.

NOTES

[1] In response to the stop and frisk principle recognized in Terry v. State of Ohio, 392 U.S. 188 S. Ct. 186820 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968), the Louisiana Legislature enacted CCrP Art. 215.1, originally by Act 305 of 1968. That statute required a reasonable suspicion. Act 686 of 1982 changed the language of Art. 215.1 to require a reasonable belief by the officer that the person whose temporary detention is sought had committed an offense. This standard, in either terminology, is less than the reasonable [probable] cause for arrest without a warrant under CCrP 213(3)

8 thoughts on “On A Full Moon 16

  1. Great story well told. Glad that your plan worked and that the team and the brass didn’t give up too soon. I liked seeing the court affirm the decision. It reinforces that your team and the detectives didn’t play fast and loose with the law.

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  2. Oh my, I literally cried reading about the horrors you, Bubba, and Sheila had to endure as young children. My heart just sank…so heartbreaking….So happy your sweet Daddy came for y’all…………………………I Remember being so scared reading in the paper about the Highland Rapist striking at night at those defenseless women and being terrified at night, wonderingif he would strike our neighborhood. So scary…..Thank you for not giving up and getting this evil man off the streets. I am so scared at night here where I’m at, but I am always on guard. Great Job JP and SPD. Really enjoyed the great writing and testimony.God Bless you!! Love ya! Connie

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  3. Pat, my family knows about foster home also. When I was 9 my family was split into 3 foster homes. Myself and younger brothers Don and John were unlucky and sent to a bad home the other two groups did alright with there homes. We were nothing but cattle to them a way to make money. There was no love no caring no teaching just belittling and shaming. We lived in Castor La. and was told when the welfare people came to say everything was fine I got my but beat so much I was scared to say anything else. Like you and your brother we lived through it but will never forget and did not forgive.

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  4. i think you are clearly a ” think outside the box ” former cop mr mcGaha , and i might add — one hell of a good writer .
    my son’s killers have still not been arrested yet but jakes death has caused me to do a lot of reading . youve stated to me that the passage of time can weaken a case but in my research i think im detecting a trend in longer case preperation times resulting in less trial errors and unjust aquittals . ive as much confidence right now in the criminal justice process as ive ever had .

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