Goff wants bail cut

Published 10:00 am Friday, May 13, 2011

There will be another motion on the table at the upcoming hearing for Megan Goff, who is facing a second trial for the murder of her estranged husband, Bill Goff.

Her Columbus-based attorneys want the 31-year-old mother’s bail reduced, calling it excessive.

In 2007, Goff was convicted in a bench trial before visiting Meigs County Judge Fred Crow for the shooting death of her husband. Goff admitted to shooting Bill Goff 15 times in the head and upper torso at his Hamilton Township home on March 18, 2006.

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During her trial Goff offered the battered-woman syndrome to show that she had acted in self-defense. However, Crow rejected that argument and sentenced her to a minimum of 33 years in prison.

Goff appealed her conviction to the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals, which rejected her argument. She then took her case to the state supreme court, which ruled she could have a new trial.

Crow was to have presided over that trial, but he removed himself in February citing health reasons. However, he did set bail at $100,000 personal recognizance, a $250,000 cash surety bond and $2.5 million appearance bond of which 10 percent could be posted.

Goff did not post bail and currently is housed at the Scioto County Jail.

“Megan is not a flight risk and is not a danger to herself or others,” her attorneys wrote in a memorandum filed Thursday.

Prior to Goff’s first trial, bond was set at $2.5 million with 10 percent to be posted. At that time Goff was placed on house arrest.

“The purpose of bail is to ensure that the accused appears at all stages of the criminal proceedings,” the memorandum states. “For almost a year prior to her first trial, Ms. Goff was released on bail. She always complied with the conditions of her release. … She never attempted to flee and attended all court appearances. … She does not intend to flee, but rather intends to clear her name at retrial. She wishes only to assure the safety of her children and to continue to offer them her love and devotion.”

Also at the pretrial hearing set for May 24, motions by Goff’s attorneys seeking a change of venue and arguing that Goff has a right to a jury trial will be heard.

Earlier this month Assistant Prosecutor Robert Anderson identified as his expert witness Dr. Daniel P. Greenfield who practices psychiatry and preventive medicine in New Jersey. Greenfield is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and has had residencies at New York Hospital Cornel Medical Center in White Plains, N.Y. and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Goff’s attorneys say they plan to call Dr. Bobby Miller, a forensic psychiatrist from Huntington, W.Va., as their expert witness. Miller testified in the first trial.

During that trial, the state called in nationally known expert Dr. Philip Resnick to examine Goff. Resnick testified that he was unable to form an opinion on whether Goff suffered from battered woman syndrome.

However, on the stand Resnick, over defense objections, repeated statements by Goff made during that examination and described what he called inconsistencies between those statements and the woman’s answers during sheriff investigators’ questioning.

It was the broad scope of that testimony that was one of the factors in the supreme court’s decision to overturn Goff’s conviction.

“Any subsequent trial testimony by the state’s expert based on the compelled examination of the defendant must be limited to information related to battered-woman syndrome and whether the defendant’s actions were affected by the syndrome,” Justice Paul E. Pfeifer wrote in the court’s lead opinion.

Retired appellate judge Patrick Martin McGrath will preside at the hearing and at the trial scheduled for Aug. 1.