Monday, August 18, 2003
Prosecutors seek 10 years on each charge
DALLAS -- The defense attorney for former Dallas Cowboy
Dwayne Goodrich, convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the
hit-and-run deaths of two good Samaritans, urged jurors Monday not
to vote for any punishment for Goodrich if they felt they had been
improperly informed of their options.
Jurors weren't told until Monday that probation wasn't an option
for Goodrich. Originally charged with manslaughter, Goodrich was
convicted Friday of the lesser offense, considered a state jail
felony. By law, jurors cannot consider probation for state jail
Goodrich was convicted of the deaths Joby Wood, 21, and Demont
Matthews, 23, both of Plano, who were hit by his BMW as they were
trying to rescue a motorist from a burning car on Jan. 14 on
Prosecutors asked jurors to sentence Goodrich to 10 years in
prison for each of the two charges, the maximum punishment since
his case was enhanced to become a third-degree felony because his
speeding car was considered a deadly weapon.
"How can 10 years be too long a price, a sentence, for the
death of a couple of heroes of our generation?" prosecutor
Fred Burns said.
But Goodrich's defense attorney Reed Prospere accused
prosecutors of relying on a glitch in the law to deny jurors the
option of sentencing Goodrich to probation. Prospere asked jurors
to feel free to withhold their vote, which would cause a mistrial.
All 12 jurors must agree on a punishment before it can be ordered.
"You don't have to vote. It's that simple," Prospere told
jurors. "The fact that the law's stupid and doesn't make sense
doesn't mean you have to follow along like a lemming."
The jury continued to deliberate Monday evening.
A judge earlier in the day rejected Prospere's request for a
Burns accused the defense of trying to persuade jurors to
disobey their oath and ignore the law. Burns said nothing would
come of a mistrial.
"There's no reason why we have to try this again under the same
state law," Burns said.
Besides, he said "this is not an offense, action or person who
should be getting probation from the jury."
In closing arguments, Goodrich's attorney depicted him as a
"good Christian," devoted father who had a bright future ahead of
him. Prospere said Goodrich sent money to the families of victims.