COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A surprise witness has come forward in the murder trial against a former sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a Black man in 2020, documents obtained by NBC4 show.
Prosecutors subpoenaed Christopher Corne on Thursday as a last-minute witness in the trial of former Franklin County sheriff’s deputy Jason Meade, according to court documents. Meade’s trial is set to resume on Tuesday, where he faces two counts of murder and one count of reckless homicide for the death of 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr.
The subpoena by special prosecutors Tim Merkle, Gary Shroyer and assistant Montgomery County prosecutor Josh Shaw lists Corne’s address that is connected to a heating and cooling business in Groveport. In addition, Meade's attorneys filed a subpoena for Goodson's mother, Tamala Payne, and her civil attorney, Sean Walton, for all emails sent between them throughout the last six months regarding Corne.
Sources told NBC4 that the surprise witness was a driver who was near the intersection where Meade said Goodson first waved and pointed a gun.
The trial had been scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, but was delayed for several hours as attorneys for both sides were seen meeting with Judge David Young behind closed doors. Young briefly called jurors into the courtroom at noon only to dismiss them for a lunch break.
Final witnesses were expected to take the stand after the break when Young called the jury back into the courtroom at 1:40 p.m. However, Young announced the trial was breaking until 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Both the defense and the prosecution had declined to comment.
Meade’s attorneys have asserted that Meade, fresh off an assignment with the U.S. Marshals Service, trailed Goodson after saying he saw him wave a gun while driving. He shot Goodson after he pointed his gun at Meade, his attorneys have claimed.
Goodson’s family, and the state, have argued that Goodson was not holding his gun, for which he had a concealed carry permit. He could not have been a threat, they've said, because his back was toward Meade when Meade shot him six times, five of which hit Goodson's back. If Meade identified himself and gave Goodson commands, Goodson wouldn't have been able to hear them, the prosecution said; he was listening to music with AirPods at the time.
Meade testified for more than two and a half hours on Tuesday and another hour on Wednesday, describing in detail the moments before he shot Goodson. He testified that, with a gun pointed at him, he didn’t think he had any other choice than to shoot.
What happened earlier in the trial? Who will I see in the courtroom?
Special prosecutor Gary Shroyer continued cross-examination of Meade on Wednesday and asked if Meade knew if the lights on his unmarked pick-up truck were on when he parked outside Goodson's grandmother's home on Estates Place. A video was played that Shroyer said showed Meade going back to the truck to turn on the lights, but Meade said he didn't remember that moment.
Mark Collins, one of Meade's attorneys, asked Meade during redirect examination what his intent was after he saw Goodson point a gun in his direction. "To not die, to protect myself," Meade answered. "Is that why you fired the weapon?" Collin asked. "Yes, sir," Meade said.
Also on Wednesday, Jurors heard from Columbus police officer Ryan Rosser, a member of the fugitive task face team that Meade was working with on the day of the shooting. Rosser testified that he began trailing Meade's truck when he made a u-turn on Ferris Road.
"He had a scared, panicked look on his face," Rosser said. "[He] said, 'We gotta go, he's got a gun, he's got a gun.'"
Goodson was later seen walking toward the side door of a home and picked up his pace until "it was a spring at the very end," Rosser said. After Meade commanded Goodson to show his hands, Rosser testified he heard several gunshots.
Kevin Davis, a former Akron police officer who testified as an expert in police use of force, said Wednesday afternoon that he believes Meade had "a lawful objective" in using deadly force against Goodson given the circumstances.
Before Meade took the stand on Tuesday, a neighbor testified that she heard Meade shout commands at someone to drop their gun when she drove past. She didn’t witness the shooting and didn’t see Goodson, but she heard the shots ring out when she was in her driveway.
Deputy U.S. Marshal David Youngless led the fugitive task force team that Meade was working with on the day of the shooting. He testified Tuesday that he heard Meade radio for help and that when he arrived on the scene, he had “never seen J’s demeanor what I saw that day.”
On Monday, jurors heard from officers and a paramedic who responded to the shooting. They reviewed body camera footage that showed Meade, on Goodson’s grandmother’s front porch, saying he saw Goodson with a gun.
A detective who analyzed Goodson's phone and Google account testified that Goodson was listening to music with AirPods up until about 12:20 p.m. -- likely the time medics removed the AirPods from Goodson's ears.
Across multiple witnesses, both the prosecution and defense focused on Goodson’s holster, a piece of cloth with a metal clip. One detective testified that, in his experience using a cloth holster while undercover, his gun has never fallen out. The lead detective in the case, meanwhile, noted that he would expect a gun to fall out of a cloth holster while a person was running – or if they fell.
Last week, jurors first heard from, Goodson's grandmother, uncle and sister, who were all in the house when Goodson was shot at the side door. Technical experts involved in the investigation, including an FBI firearms expert and the medical examiner who performed Goodson's autopsy, also testified.
Meade spent his entire law enforcement career at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, first becoming a deputy in 2007. He left the force in July 2021 on disability retirement, five months before he was charged in Goodson’s death. He had been on paid leave since shooting Goodson.
The former Marine had been on the sheriff’s office SWAT team since 2014, according to his personnel file. He was previously a pastor at Rosedale Freewill Baptist Church in Irwin.
Representing Meade are three seasoned criminal defense attorneys: Mark Collins, Kaitlyn Stephens and Steven Nolder. Collins and Stephens have represented a swathe of law enforcement officials under prosecutorial scrutiny for their use of force, including former Columbus police vice officer Andrew Mitchell, who killed Donna Castleberry in 2018.
Presenting the state’s case are special prosecutors Gary Shroyer, Tim Merkle and Joshua Shaw, tapped by the Franklin County prosecutor’s office since it typically represents the sheriff’s office. Shroyer and Merkle have ample experience investigating officers who use deadly force — most recently, the duo is handling the murder case against former Columbus police officer Ricky Anderson, who killed Donovan Lewis in his bed in the Hilltop in August 2022.