Prosecutor responds to Goff’s appeal

Published 10:12 am Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney has filed a response to convicted murderer Megan Goff’s appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court for a new trial.

Brigham Anderson filed the response Wednesday with the high court, contending that Goff failed to prove she did not create the situation, that led to the shooting death of her husband, Bill Goff, in March 2006.

Goff’s attorney, Paula Brown of Columbus, filed an appeal for another trial Feb. 14, a little more than a month after the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld Goff’s 2011 murder conviction.

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The new appeal cites five areas of law as reasons for a new trial, one of which states “a battered woman does not lose her right to occupy the marital residence when she takes temporary refuge from her abusive spouse in order to protect herself and her children.”

In Anderson’s response, he said Goff had vacated the residence about 60 days before the shooting and had no intention of moving back in.

“She did not enjoy the right to use deadly force without retreat, especially since she had herself created the setting for violence by going to the house to confront the victim with two loaded guns,” the response stated.

Anderson further wrote that even if the Supreme Court adopted any of the five areas of law for a new trial, Goff would still not be entitled to a reversal of her conviction.

“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 that danger,” the response said.

Whether the Supreme Court will hear the case is discretionary since Goff has used her one mandatory appeal allowed by law when the court reheard the case in 2011.

On March 17, 2006, Goff went to the home of her estranged husband, Bill Goff, in Hanging Rock, and shot him 15 times. Bill Goff died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Megan Goff 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 were added to the 15, making her parole eligibility possible after 18 years.