Fairfield man not guilty of robbery; guilty of being accessory

Posted June 27, 2012, at 12:16 p.m.
Last modified June 27, 2012, at 3:57 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Fairfield man on Wednesday was found not guilty by a federal jury of armed robbery and aiding and abetting armed robbery but guilty of accessory after the fact in connection with the robbery of a Skowhegan credit union three years ago at knifepoint.

Forrest T. “Teddy” Goodwin Jr., 33, had denied taking part in the scheme executed by his co-defendant, Paul J. Garland, 27, of Oakland. Garland pleaded guilty in April to the robbery of the Taconnet Federal Credit Union, located on U.S. Route 201, on June 10, 2009.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated for about 2½ hours Wednesday before announcing their verdicts. The trial began Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

“We’re very pleased the jury saw that Mr. Goodwin was not guilty of robbing the [credit union],” defense attorney Stephen Smith of Bangor said. “This was purely Mr. Garland’s idea and we’re happy the jury saw through the government’s case.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy, who prosecuted the case, declined to comment on the verdict.

Sentencing dates have not been set for either man. Goodwin and Garland have been held without bail since their arrests last year and will continue be held without bail until they are sentenced, according to court documents.

Two men, wearing hooded sweatshirts and sunglasses, arrived at the credit union about 10:30 a.m. on the day of the robbery on a motorcycle, according to court documents.

Garland went inside and demanded money, according to court documents. He initially was calm but a teller noticed a bit later that he was agitated.

“[Garland] came to the counter and [the teller] noticed that he had a knife in his hand,” according to the version of events to which Garland pleaded guilty. “The male told her to put all the money in the bag, which she noticed was a white, plastic shopping bag with red writing. As [the teller] was putting the money in the bag, the male banged on the counter with the knife and started yelling, ‘Faster, faster.’ After [the teller] put all the money in the bag, the male turned and left the building.”

Garland and Goodwin escaped on the motorcycle with $9,147, according to court documents.

About two hours after the robbery, the motorcycle was found by police behind the residence where Garland was staying, according to court documents. The license plates on the motorcycle were from another vehicle.

On June 11, 2009, Garland fled the state without any luggage and stayed with a friend in Valparaiso, Ind., into mid-August, according to court documents. While there, he paid cash for motels, food and entertainment.

Information about when Garland returned to Maine was not available in court documents.

In his closing argument, McCarthy told the jury that Goodwin parked his motorcycle, which had plates from another vehicle on it, facing the road in the credit union parking lot for “a fast getaway.” He also hid the bike in the woods behind his trailer, then switched vehicles and left with Garland in search of drugs.

McCarthy also said that after he was arrested, Goodwin told police Garland had given him about $2,000 from the robbery that Goodwin eventually spent on drugs but originally hid under the battery in his truck.

“Actions speak louder than words,” McCarthy said. He urged jurors to examine Goodwin’s actions in relation to the robbery.

The federal prosecutor also told jurors that when police asked Goodwin if he was afraid of Garland, Goodwin denied being in fear of his friend and former roommate.

In his closing argument Wednesday morning, Smith said the prosecution had no evidence that Goodwin knew Garland was going to rob the credit union before the robbery.

“You must ask yourselves: Is it reasonable to think that Mr. Goodwin didn’t know about the robbery until after he was riding down the road away from the credit union and was shown the money?” Smith told the jury. “And is it reasonable, given all that happened afterwards, that everything Mr. Goodwin did, he did out of fear of Mr. Garland?”

Smith also said that the prosecution had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Goodwin was guilty.

Garland faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the robbery charge. Goodwin faces up to 12½ years in prison and a fine of up to $125,000 on the accessory charge.

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