Goff murder conviction upheld

Published 11:27 am Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the 2011 murder conviction of Megan Goff.

Monday, the court returned a 27-page opinion overruling Goff’s appeal, ending her right to appeal her case in the future.

“This ends her appeals as a matter of right,” said Brigham Anderson, Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney. “Meaning she can still request the Supreme Court of Ohio to hear it, but they don’t have to hear it. It would be discretionary.”

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On March 17, 2006, Goff went to the home of her estranged husband, Bill Goff, and shot him 15 times. Bill Goff died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. She claimed she acted in self-defense and that she had been abused during their marriage, claiming battered woman’s syndrome.

In May of that year, Goff was convicted of aggravated murder following a bench trial by Visiting Judge Fred Crow, who sentenced her to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 33 years.

That conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Ohio on the grounds a witness for the prosecution, a psychiatrist, was allowed to testify on issues he should not have and a new trial was ordered.

Goff’s jury trial began in August 2011 and she was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 15 years. Because she used a gun to commit her crime, an automatic three years was added to the 15, making her parole eligibility possible after 18 years.

In Goff’s latest appeal, she argued that the trial court made errors in including a “duty to retreat” in its self-defense instruction. Goff claimed she did not have a duty to retreat because she was in her own home when the incident occurred.

However, the court of appeals felt there was enough evidence presented at the trial that proved Goff had moved from the residence and had no intention of returning.

Goff also argued the trial court should have dismissed her indictment due to the grand jury proceedings not being fully recorded and that there was improper testimony; that the trial court erred by not instructing the jury on the so-called imperfect self-defense doctrine; the trial court’s jury instruction for murder presented the jury from considering whether Goff committed voluntary manslaughter; and that the trial court erred by denying her motion to disqualify the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office and Detective Aaron Bollinger.

The appeal’s court opinion, written by Judge Roger L. Kline, overturned each of Goff’s arguments, saying the woman could not prove she was prejudiced against in any of the complaints.