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Government & Politics

Family of Casey Goodson Jr. Says Coroner Confirmed He Was Shot in Back

Casey Goodson Jr.'s mother and sister cry during the protest in December.
Paige Pfleger
Casey Goodson Jr.'s mother and sister cry during the protest in December.

Since Casey Goodson Jr. died at the hands of Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Meade in December, Goodson's family has maintained he was shot in the back. They now say the county coroner has confirmed it.

Goodson’s mother Tamala Payne says Franklin County Coroner's Office gave her the information from the initial autopsy a month ago. Coroner Anahi Ortiz  has not released the official report and has not publicly confirmed the family’s statements.

Payne says the coroner and deputy coroner told her Goodson suffered a total of six gunshot wounds, five in the back and one in the buttock, all of which struck Goodson from behind.

Payne also says the autopsy showed some of the bullets passed through another object before striking 23-year-old Goodson. The family believes this confirms their suspicion that Goodson was shot through an exterior door of the home.

"It is extremely painful to suffer through a situation like this, especially when you don’t have any answers,” Payne said in a statement Thursday. “It was important for my family to know exactly how many times Casey was shot and where he was shot. I want to share this information with the public as we ask for support in calling for the prosecution of Jason Meade."

The circumstances surrounding the December 4 shooting remain unclear. According to the U.S. Marshal, Meade was part of a task force carrying out an unsuccessful search for a suspect in the Northland area of Columbus when deputies encountered Goodson, who was reportedly "driving down the street waving a gun." Although Goodson was neither the suspect that officers were searching for, nor the subject of any investigation, Meade followed Goodson and confronted him at his home.

There is no footage of the shooting, because Meade – like other sheriff's deputies – was not equipped with a body camera. A lawyer for Meade claims that Goodson pointed a gun at the deputy during their encounter, and police say they recovered a gun from Goodson's body after he died.

Goodson's family disputes both allegations, contending that he was carrying a bag of sandwiches while entering his home. Family members also say they did not see a gun in Goodson's hand or near his body.

Ortiz said in early December that Goodson's death was likely caused by multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, but at did not specify the number of wounds or direction of the bullets. The full autopsy would take 12-14 weeks to be released, she said.

Meade is on paid administrative leave from the Franklin County Sheriff's office as the investigation proceeds. Goodson's family has called for Meade to be fired and arrested with murder, but no charges have been announced in the case yet.

A combined criminal-civil rights probe of Goodson's death was being led by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, but U.S. Attorney David DeVillers recently resigned at the request of the Biden administration.

WOSU has requested comment from the Franklin County Coroner and Sheriff. 

Copyright 2021 WOSU 89.7 NPR News.