BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Judge Barry Williams is expected to render his verdict in the murder trial of Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson.
Officer Goodson faces a possible 30-year sentence if convicted in the death of Freddie Gray. He was driving the van when Gray suffered a spinal injury. Gray’s death one week later sparked riots in the city.
It’s likely we will know the verdict by 11 a.m., WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren reports. The judge has said he will take to the bench at 10 a.m. and read his decision. A transcript of the verdict in the Nero case is 25-pages long. Goodson’s will probably be longer. City leaders say they’re ready.
Police leave has been cancelled and the National Guard is on standby. On Thursday morning, all attention will focus on Judge Barry Williams, who alone will decide the fate of Officer Caesar Goodson.
Gray family attorney Billy Murphy has said before he has faith in the judge.
“Barry Williams has shown that he is a fair and impartial man and a credit to this bench,” Murphy said.
Officer Goodson faces charges ranging from murder to misconduct.
To get a murder conviction, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Goodson created a high degree of risk while driving Gray in the van, and that Goodson knew it was risky and acted with extreme disregard to Gray’s life.
Prosecutors say Goodson gave Freddie Gray a rough ride. The judge has expressed skepticism about their theory.
“You can’t just charge people at the scene of an accident to appease a mob,” said Peter Moskos, former Baltimore City police officer and associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Moskos tells WJZ an acquittal puts the remaining four cases in jeopardy.
“It’s the most significant case, but it’s also the only case that the prosecution really has a chance of winning because Goodson is the most culpable of the police involved because Freddie Gray was his prisoner in the van. Now, that doesn’t mean there was a crime, but if this case isn’t won by the prosecution, everything absolutely does fall apart,” Moskos said.
Goodson remains suspended without pay. Regardless of what happens on Thursday, he still faces punishment from the Baltimore Police Department at an administrative review once all of the trials are over.