Bangor attorney to pursue insanity defense in 2009 patricide

Posted March 27, 2011, at 3:25 p.m.
Last modified March 30, 2011, at 11:09 a.m.


BANGOR, Maine — A hearing scheduled for Monday afternoon will determine whether Perley Goodrich Jr. is competent to stand trial, and if he is, defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein said he will pursue an insanity defense on behalf of his client.

Goodrich Jr. faces charges of intentional or knowing murder and depraved indifference murder in the 2009 death of his father, Perley Goodrich Sr. Silverstein said he does not intend to deny the events of early Oct. 26, 2009, when Goodrich Jr. allegedly shot his father to death and severely assaulted his mother, Sandra Goodrich. Silverstein, a Bangor-based attorney, said he will focus on his client’s long history of mental illness, including the fact that he sought treatment twice in the days leading up to the tragedy.

“At the time of death of his father, Perley had not been properly medicated for a long time, and he knew it,” Silverstein told the Bangor Daily News. “He showed up at the hospital and said, ‘I’m going out of my mind.’”

According to Silverstein, Goodrich Jr. presented himself to medical personnel on Oct. 22, 2009, was given medications and sent home. Two days later, after he complained of high anxiety and the inability to sleep to his mother, she again took him to the hospital. That time, Goodrich left Dorothea Dix Medical Center on his own. According to Silverstein, Goodrich Jr. was frustrated by the doctors who were suggesting treatment that Goodrich Jr. knew wouldn’t work.

Just after midnight Oct. 26, Goodrich Jr. attacked his parents, killing his father with a shot to the back, and spent the next four days leading authorities on a manhunt through the woods of eastern Newport. Goodrich Jr. was captured after being recognized by a waitress at the Newport Big Stop, where Goodrich Jr. had ordered a cup of coffee, at around 2 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30, 2009.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said jury selection is scheduled for Monday morning, likely followed by the competency hearing in the afternoon. Benson said he also expected that he and Silverstein will present various motions for the exclusion of certain evidence. If Goodrich Jr. is found competent, the trial will probably begin Tuesday morning.

“If the trial moves forward, it will be a bifurcated trial,” said Benson. “The jury will consider guilt or innocence first. Once we have the verdict, then the issue of legal insanity will be addressed.”

Benson said he expected the trial to stretch into the week of April 4.

Silverstein said Friday that if Goodrich Jr. was given his proper medications over the weekend while being held at Penobscot County Jail, he would likely be found competent for trial.

“We’d like to go through with the trial,” said Silverstein. “I don’t see any competence issue as long as he’s on his medications.”

Silverstein said he intends to call numerous mental health providers to the stand, but has not decided whether Goodrich Jr. will testify.

“As in any criminal case, that’s ultimately the client’s decision,” said Silverstein. “We’re not denying what happened in the [Goodrich family’s] house. The ultimate question in this trial in terms of consequences is whether he goes to prison or to the mental health department indefinitely.”