1st hearing in Goff retrial scheduled

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The first hearing in the process to retry convicted murderer Megan Goff will be Friday, Jan. 21, in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

On Dec. 30, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that Goff’s constitutional rights were violated during her 2007 trial. Goff was convicted in common pleas court of aggravated murder in a bench trial by visiting Judge Fred Crow of Meigs County.

Crow is scheduled to conduct the upcoming hearing that will start at 11:30 a.m.

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Goff was sentenced to a minimum of 33 years at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville. The former Hamilton Township woman admitted shooting her husband, Bill Goff, 15 times in the head and upper torso. She claimed she shot her husband in self-defense because she suffered from battered woman syndrome.

Goff’s appeal, handled by the Columbus law firm of Kravitz, Brown and Dortch, centered on whether the state had the right to compel Goff to submit to a psychiatric exam by its expert when the defendant was asserting a battered woman defense.

During her trial the state called in nationally known expert Dr. Phillip Resnick to examine Goff. The forensic psychiatrist testified that he was unable to form an opinion on whether the then 27-year-old suffered from battered woman syndrome.

However, on the stand, Resnick, over defense objections, repeated statements by Goff that she made during the examination with him. Resnick described on the stand what he called inconsistencies between those statements and the woman’s responses to police questions.

In its lead opinion, written by Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, the court ruled that a defendant may be compelled to undergo a psychiatric exam without that violating her right against self-incrimination. However, testimony by the state’s expert must be limited to information about the syndrome and whether it caused her actions.