LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A former Louisville police detective who helped forge the warrant that led to the deadly police raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
Federal investigators said Kelly Goodlett added a false line to the warrant and later conspired with another detective to create a cover story when Taylor’s police shooting death began to gain national attention.
Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was shot to death by officers who broke down her door while serving a drug search warrant. Taylor’s friend shot one of the officers as they walked through the door, and they returned fire, hitting Taylor multiple times.
Goodlett, 35, appeared in federal court in Louisville on Tuesday afternoon and admitted to conspiring with another Louisville police officer to forge the warrant. Goodlett briefly answered several questions from federal judge Rebecca Jennings Grady.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was in the courtroom Tuesday but did not speak after the proceedings.
Three former Louisville officers were indicted on civil rights charges earlier this month by a federal grand jury. Goodlett was not charged, but he was charged in a federal intelligence filing, which likely means the former detective is cooperating with investigators.
Goodlett will be sentenced on November 22. Grady said there may be “extenuating circumstances” that might prompt the court to postpone the sentencing date. Part of the hearing was also kept under seal and was not discussed in open court Tuesday. He faces up to five years in prison for the conviction.
He resigned from the department on Aug. 5, a day after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new federal charges in the Taylor case.
Former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany were indicted on charges related to the warrant used to search Taylor’s home. A third former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with excessive force when he walked out Taylor’s door, turned the corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment. He was acquitted by a jury of similar state charges earlier this year. Jaynes, Meany and Hankison have been fired.
The three former officers face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the civil rights charges.
Federal prosecutors said in court filings that Janes, who drafted the Taylor warrant, had claimed to Goodlett days before the warrant was served that he had “verified” from a postal inspector that a suspected drug dealer was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment . But Goodlett knew that was false and told Jaynes that the warrant did not yet have enough information linking Taylor to criminal activity, prosecutors said. He added a paragraph saying suspected drug dealer Jamarcus Glover used Taylor’s apartment as his current address, according to court records.
Two months later, when Taylor’s shooting was attracting national headlines, the postal inspector told a news outlet that he had not verified that packages for Glover were going to Taylor’s apartment. Janes and Goodlett then met in Janes’ garage to “get on the same page” before Janes spoke to investigators about Taylor’s warrant, according to court records.
They decided to tell Sgt. John Mattingly, referred to in court records as JM, told them that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s home, according to prosecutors. Mattingly was shot in the leg during the raid on Taylor’s apartment.
Meany, who signed the Taylor warrant and was still a Louisville police sergeant when he was charged Aug. 4, was fired by Louisville Police Chief Erica Shields on Friday.
Shields said in a statement that Meany has yet to have his case tried by a jury, but “is facing multiple federal charges following a lengthy investigation by the DOJ” and should not “expect continued employment under these circumstances.”
Hankison was the only officer charged who was at the scene the night of the murder.