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Jury deliberates in murder trial of former Ohio deputy accused of fatally shooting Casey Goodson Jr.

Family of Casey Goodson

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The jury in the murder trial of a former Ohio deputy charged in the shooting death of Casey Goodson Jr. began deliberating Wednesday, following more than two weeks of witness testimony, including from a last minute witness who said he came forward after watching news of the trial.

“Six shots in the back,” special prosecutor Tim Merkle told the jury as he began delivering his closing arguments, echoing special prosecutor Gary Shroyer’s words during opening statement. “No matter how [defense attorneys] twist and turn, it is still six shots in the back.”

Jason Meade, a former deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO), is charged with two counts of murder and one count of reckless homicide in the 23-year-old Black man’s shooting death. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“We’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jason Meade acted reasonably,” attorney Mark Collins said during the defense’s closing arguments.

The incident occurred in Columbus on Dec. 4, 2020, when Meade was working with the U.S. Marshals Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST) to search for a wanted fugitive. Meade, who is white, alleged that Goodson pointed a gun at him as the two drove past each other. The then-deputy said he decided to follow Goodson home. Goodson legally owned a gun and had a concealed carry permit, according to police.

Meade testified that once outside Goodson’s residence, he saw Goodson holding a gun and gave him verbal commands to drop his weapon but Goodson did not comply. As Goodson approached the back door to his grandmother’s home, where he lived, Meade claimed Goodson made a turning motion and pointed his gun towards the deputy. Meade, who was in possession of a rifle, then opened fire.

An autopsy conducted by the Franklin County Coroner’s Office found that Goodson had been shot six times from behind, including five times in his back.

The prosecution argued that Goodson did not hear Meade because he was wearing headphones and listening to music and that Goodson was carrying a bag with sandwiches — and not a gun — in one hand as he used his other hand to open the door to the house. Goodson’s gun, which his family said he carried with him, was found in his possession with the safety on, according to police.

At the time of the shooting, FCSO deputies were not issued body cameras so no known video of the incident exists.

Meade’s defense team argued that the former deputy’s actions were in line with his training and a response to Goodson’s behavior. Last Tuesday, the former deputy took the stand to give the jury his account of the events that led to the shooting.

“Everything that I did was dictated by his actions,” Meade told the jury about why he shot Goodson. “He pointed his gun at me. I thought I was gonna die.”

Mark Collins, one of the lawyers representing Meade, asked him during direct examination what he had thought about after shooting Goodson. “I remember thinking it was my boy’s birthday. I just ruined his birthday,” Meade said.

Meade’s legal team declined ABC News’ request for comment.

During cross examination, special prosecutor Gary Shroyer asked Meade if he remembered which hand Goodson had used to open the storm door into his house. “I didn’t see his hands,” Meade said.

“I might have taken my eyes off of him for a moment but I didn’t see which hand he opened the door with,” Meade said.

The prosecution began presenting their case to the jury by calling members of Goodson’s family who had been in the home when the shooting happened to the stand, playing a recording of the 911 call Sharon Payne, Goodson’s grandmother, made following the shooting. The call was played again during Wednesday’s closing arguments.

“He went to the dentist and somewhere and came home and all of a sudden I heard a bunch of gunfire,” Payne told the 911 operator. “He’s not a bad kid. He don’t have a police record. He works. I don’t know what happened.”

The prosecution called 16 witnesses to the stand, including police officers and first responders who were called to the scene after the shooting, the medical examiner who performed Goodson’s autopsy, Columbus PD Crime Scene Search Unit officers, FBI and Columbus PD firearms experts and digital forensics.

The defense called to the stand Sheila Staniford, Goodson’s neighbor, who claimed to have heard Meade yelling commands to Goodson to drop his gun at least two times before hearing gunshots.

As the defense was preparing to rest their case, the trial faced an unexpected two-day delay when a surprise witness came forward after following the trial online — Christopher Corne, a HVAC worker who said he’d seen Goodson at the same intersection where Meade alleges to have seen him pointing a gun.

Corne testified that he noticed Goodson because he was driving recklessly and that when they came past each other, the two made eye contact. Corne said he saw movements and that Goodson “had one hand up in the air like he was singing or something like that,” but said no gun was visible.

During cross examination, the defense questioned Corne’s motivations for coming forward as the trial is underway and what they believe to be some inconsistencies in what Corne told the FBI. For example, Corne told the FBI he had driven away from the scene by taking one street but video evidence showed it was a different street.

If convicted on the charges, Meade could face life in prison.

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