Jury seated in Goff case

Published 9:37 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

A nine-man, three-woman jury was seated Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Megan Goff.

Goff, formerly of Hamilton Township, is charged with the 2006 aggravated murder of her estranged husband, Bill Goff. She has claimed self- defense in the shooting and that she suffered from battered woman’s syndrome.

In addition to the 12- member jury, four alternates — a woman and three men — were also seated. The jury was sworn in at 2:10 p.m. Wednesday after two days of individual and group interviews.

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The first two days of questioning, or voir dire, centered on what each juror knew of the trial and if anyone had been unduly influenced by pretrial publicity, knowledge of the original trial in 2007 or if anyone had heard others talking about the case.

Then on Wednesday, jurors were questioned as a group about whether they knew any of the people involved on either side of the case or if there was any other reason they could not serve and give the trial their full attention.

One woman was excused because she is a caregiver for her terminally ill mother.

At least two people were excused because their employers only pay for an employee to serve on a jury for up to 80 hours and the two days of jury selection this week had used 16 of those 80 hours.

The Goff trial may last two to three weeks. The people said after 80 hours they are not paid and cannot afford to miss a payday.

“It would definitely cause a financial hardship,” one man said.

After the jury was sworn in, the jury was put in vans and taken to the scene of the shooting, at the request of Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson.

He said the jury would view the exterior of the Goff residence and the Jarrell residence next door.

The Jarrell residence was Megan Goff’s home before she was married to Bill Goff.

Anderson said the viewing was to give jurors “a perspective in relation to where the houses are.”

Defense attorney Paula Brown objected, saying she did not know if alterations had been made to the houses that would mislead the jurors in any way.

“I just don’t know so I have to object,” she said.

McGrath ruled the jury could see the homes and granted a defense motion that Goff herself be allowed to view the scene at the same time and without any restraints.

Opening statements in the case were expected to begin at 9 a.m. this morning.

Goff was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 33 years in prison. But late last year the Ohio Supreme Court overturned her conviction and ordered a new trial.