BANGOR, Maine — A jury was selected on Monday for the murder trial of Perley Goodrich Jr., the Newport man accused of killing his father and pistol-whipping his mother in October 2009. Afterward, a hearing was held to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.
Dr. Ann LeBlanc, director of the State Forensic Service, testified in an empty courtroom about Goodrich’s mental state, and after she left the stand Superior Court Justice William Anderson said, “I’ll have the decision in the morning.”
The jury was told to return to the Penobscot Judicial Center at 9 a.m.
Goodrich, 46, faces charges of intentional or knowing murder and depraved indifference murder in the Oct. 26, 2009, shooting death of his father, Perley Goodrich Sr., 76. He also is accused of aggravated assault for pistol-whipping his mother, Sandra Goodrich, at the home the three shared on Rutland Road in Newport. Goodrich Jr. was arrested after a four-day manhunt that ended after a waitress recognized him drinking coffee at a Newport truck stop.
In February 2010, Goodrich Jr. pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible by reason of insanity to intentional or knowing murder, depraved indifference murder and aggravated assault.
Sandra Goodrich, along with other relatives, filtered into the courtroom after the jury selection ended at around 4:15 p.m. Monday. She sat in the first row behind her son but became emotional and left before the competency hearing started.
Both Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson and defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein questioned LeBlanc, who testified that Goodrich Jr. suffers from anxiety but is capable of standing trial.
“He appears to have the basic skills” needed to participate in his own defense, she said. A doctor at the state-run Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta treated Goodrich Jr. and recommended that he be given Klonopin, an anti-anxiety drug, before his trial. LeBlanc said the drug would “allow him to apply these skills.”
Silverstein said he is concerned that since his client began getting the anti-anxiety drug only last Thursday, he hasn’t been fully capable of assisting him or his co-counsel, Julio DeSanctis, with his own defense.
Silverstein has said he does not intend to deny the events of Oct. 26, 2009, and 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.
Benson said that if the trial moves forward, it will be bifurcated, meaning the jury will consider the murder charges first — whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty — and then will deal with the insanity issue and possible penalties.
“The second half of the trial will involve whether he has a mental issue with psychosis,” the prosecutor said.
If Goodrich Jr. is found not criminally responsible for the crime, he would be held at Riverview Psychiatric Center until he was deemed fit to live in society without being a danger to himself or others, Silverstein has said.
If found guilty of the murder charge against him, Goodrich Jr. would face between 25 years and life in prison.