Fall date for Goff case hearing

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

COLUMBUS — A date has been set for the Ohio Supreme Court to hear the case of a Hamilton Township woman convicted of murdering her estranged husband.

The high court will hear oral arguments Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Megan Goff was convicted in a bench trial in 2007 for the death of Bill Goff, who was shot 15 times in the head and upper chest at his home the previous year. Goff’s defense was that she was the victim of battered woman syndrome and that the shooting was committed in self-defense, although the victim was unarmed.

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Visiting Judge Fred Crow from Meigs County found Goff guilty of aggravated murder, sentencing her to a minimum of 33 years in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.

Goff appealed that conviction to the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals in September 2009. The appellate court rejected all nine of her arguments concerning alleged errors in her trial.

But this past January in a 4-3 vote the state supreme court agreed to hear arguments on three of the nine proposed errors.

Goff claimed she was subjected to self-incrimination, violating her Fifth Amendment right because she was ordered to submit to a psychiatric examination arranged by the prosecution on the issue of battered woman syndrome by Dr. Philip Resnick. Resnick has been a high-profile consultant in national cases such as the Oklahoma City bombings and the murder trial of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five children.

In his response to the defense’s brief Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Robert Anderson argued that Goff contradicted herself by offering psychiatric testimony for herself, but denying the prosecutor had the right to rebuttal. The Resnick testimony was only used for rebuttal purposes, Anderson stated.

“Even if this court would sustain and adopt any or all of the propositions of law, appellant would still not be entitled to a reversal of her convictions,” the prosecutor wrote. “She offered absolutely no evidence that she was not at fault in creating the situation giving rise to the altercation or that she did not violate any duty to retreat or avoid the danger.”

There are five cases on the high court’s docket that day with the Goff arguments expected to begin around 9:30 a.m. The case can also be heard live on line on the supreme court’s Web site, www.supremecourt.ohio.gov. It will also be archived on the Web site and can be viewed later.

Typically the court will make its final decision within three to six months after hearing arguments.

The Columbus-based firm of Kravitz, Brown & Dortch is representing Goff.