The family of Casey Goodson says a new photo released Wednesday bolsters their claim that the 23-year-old was unaware he was being approached by a former Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy.
Sean Walton, the attorney for Goodson’s mother, Tamala Payne, said Wednesday at a press conference at the Columbus Urban League offices that several pieces of evidence were left behind at the scene by Columbus police, who initially investigated the fatal shooting. Among those items, he said, were a pair of Apple AirPods with blood on them.
Goodson, who had a concealed carry permit, was shot while entering his home on Dec. 4, 2020. His family said he was carrying Subway sandwiches to the home in the 3900 block of Estates Place where he lived with his grandmother and was unaware he was being approached Franklin County SWAT Deputy Jason Mead.
Through his attorney, Meade said he saw Goodson flash a gun while driving by and followed him home for improper handling of a firearm. Meade said he repeatedly called for Goodson to show his hands and that Goodson turned toward him pointing a gun when the deputy shot him. Goodson’s gun was found at the scene, but the exact location has not been released.
An autopsy showed Goodson was shot six times, five of which entered his back. Mead, who took early retirement, was indicted in December 2021 on charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Previous coverage:A judge has ruled that Jason Mead must face murder charges in the death of Casey Goodson Jr.
Walton said the AirPods were something Goodson wore on a regular basis and were found in a pool of Goodson’s blood on the home’s kitchen floor. Walton and Goodson’s family argue that if the deputy had told him to put his hands up, Goodson likely never heard the commands.
“(His family) literally had to yell at Casey and get his attention for Casey to take out the AirPods and Casey to hear what they were saying,” Walton said. “It’s possible he was going about his routine, AirPods in his ear, walking into his house. He was oblivious to the murderous threat facing him from behind and had no idea he was being shot at the scene of his murder by Jason Meade.”
The AirPods were turned over to the FBI, Walton said. No photos or other evidence was provided by Walton on Wednesday to confirm what he said happened when the AirPods were found.
“I strongly believe (Columbus police) took pictures of the aftermath and the FBI conducted their own investigation,” Walton said. “It’s possible there will be pictures that will come out.”
The Dispatch reached out to Columbus police for comment immediately after Walton’s remarks at the news conference, but did not hear back by mid-afternoon.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called in to investigate the sheriff’s office three days after the shooting. The state agency declined at the time, noting that its forensics team was not initially called in, so the case was primarily investigated by Columbus police’s critical incident response team. The FBI officially joined the investigation four days after the shooting.
After his death, Goodson’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Meade. That case has been put on hold pending the conclusion of the criminal case against Meade in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Mead is currently scheduled to go to trial in early December, but there have been continuances and Walton said that date is likely to be moved to 2023.
Previous coverage:What we know about the fatal shooting of Casey Goodson Jr. by a Franklin County deputy
Walton said Wednesday that the family hopes the stay granted in the civil suit — a stay of the lawsuit until the criminal trial is completed — will be lifted so Goodson’s family can have some sense of closure and resolution, as well as change.
“Casey was hunted, stalked, preyed upon and slaughtered, executed on his way home, completely oblivious to the danger behind him,” Payne said Wednesday. “They’ve shown no accountability for Casey’s murder. They’ve shown no empathy, no sympathy. They’re acting like we asked to be here. It’s just time for (Franklin County District Attorney) Gary Tyke’s office and the Board of Commissioners to stand up and do what is right by the family.”
Walton added that Goodson’s family hopes for significant policy change and reforms as part of any resolution, citing the Aug. 30 death of Donovan Lewis, who was shot by veteran Columbus police officer Ricky Anderson while police were processing felony warrants and misdemeanor arrest, as another example of the need for an emergency.
“We would urge them to involve us in any resolution of this matter or allow us to proceed to a jury and allow them to give this family what they deserve for the actions of Jason Mead,” Walton said of the attorneys representing Meade and Franklin County;
This article originally appeared in The Columbus Dispatch: Casey Goodson’s family releases new evidence in case: bloody AirPods