Despite an elaborate courtroom re-enactment in which Teri Lin Goddard described how her live-in boyfriend accidentally was stabbed, a 3rd District Court jury ruled late Thursday that it was no accident.
After four hours of deliberation, the jury found Goddard, 36, guilty of second-degree murder for the June 2 stabbing death of Derek G. Hall, 33.Judge David Young ordered that Goddard be sent immediately to the Salt Lake County Jail because of concern that she could leave town before sentencing and "for her own safety." She will be sentenced Nov. 16.
During re-enactments of the stabbing, Goddard - dressed in the same blood-stained clothing she wore the night she stabbed Hall - testified that Hall grabbed her and threw her into a cushioned living room chair and then held her there.
Moments earlier, she had grabbed a fishing knife in order to protect herself from three women she had just been arguing with minutes earlier down the street. She said Hall knelt between her legs as she slumped down in the chair and he grabbed hold of her hand, which was still clutching the knife.
Somehow, Hall "leaned down on top of me" and the knife went into his chest, she said.
But prosecutor Rodwicke Ybarra said such a story was ludicrous and the jury apparently agreed.
The state's strongest testimony came from Sharon Schnittker, deputy assistant director for the Utah State Medical Examiner. She took the stand for a second time Thursday and said Goddard's explanation of how Hall was stabbed was "extremely unlikely."
The defendant's sweatshirt had small blood stains on the right sleeve, but Ybarra said there should have been a lot more blood on the front of the shirt had Hall been leaning on top of her when he was stabbed.
"There would have immediately been blood exuding from the wound," Schnittker testified. "Once it (the knife) went in, and certainly once it came out, there would have been more prolific bleeding."
Defense attorney Brooke Wells said the sleeve of the sweatshirt could easily have been twisted as Hall held her down and said the droplets of blood on the sleeve were consistent with blood squirting from the stabbing.
Wells argued that the prosecution had provided no evidence to show that Goddard "intentionally or knowingly" killed Hall. A recorded phone call to 911, during which a hysterical Goddard cried for someone to come and help Hall, showed that she did not want to hurt him, she said.
Despite Goddard's testimony that she and Hall had not been arguing or fighting that night, Ybarra reminded the jury that three different witnesses had testified differently.
One neighbor said she heard male and female voices fighting from Goddard's house, another heard her threaten to kill Hall and one man saw her flirt with another man in front of Hall - presumably to make Hall jealous.
"It sounds like Teri Lin was very angry at Derek," Ybarra said. "It didn't happen the way she said it happened."
Wells said she will appeal the verdict.