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Ex-officer charged in Breonna Taylor’s death pleads guilty to federal conspiracy charge

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former police officer facing federal charges in the death of Breonna Taylor pleaded guilty Tuesday, marking the first conviction related to the March 2020 shooting, according to multiple reports.

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Former Louisville Metro police Officer Kelly Goodlett was charged with conspiracy after prosecutors said she worked with a detective to put false information into an affidavit for the search of Taylor’s apartment and that, after Taylor’s death, she coordinated with the same detective to cover up evidence of what they’d done. If convicted, Goodlett faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Update 3:45 p.m. EDT Aug. 23: In court records, Goodlett said that she fact-checked an affidavit drafted primarily by Detective Joshua Jaynes in which they lied about a man under investigation for drug dealing picking up packages at Taylor’s home.

Goodlett and Jaynes saw the suspect pick up a package from Taylor’s apartment in January 2020 and suspected it contained drugs or drug proceeds, according to court records. However, they could not find information to back up their gut feeling that the suspect was getting packages at Taylor’s home. Later, when Goodlett saw the draft of the affidavit, she knew it falsely claimed that a postal inspector had verified to Jaynes that the suspect was getting packages at Taylor’s apartment.

“Even though Det. Goodlett knew the claim about packages in the affidavit was false, she failed to change the statement or to object to it,” court records show. “Det. Goodlett had been ostracized early in her career for attempting to report a fellow officer’s use of excessive force, so she decided not to call Det. Jaynes out on this lie, as Det. Jaynes was the lead detective on the case.”

Goodlett told Jaynes that she thought there wasn’t enough information in the affidavit to connect the suspect’s drug dealing to Taylor’s apartment.

“To make the warrant appear fresher, Det. Goodlett added a paragraph stating that det. Jaynes had ‘verified’ from law enforcement databases that (the suspect) used Taylor’s apartment as ‘his current home address,’” according to court records. “Det. Goodlett and Det. Jaynes both knew at the time that this was misleading because (the suspect) did not, in fact, live at Taylor’s apartment. Det. Goodlett knew that (the suspect) had not been seen at Taylor’s apartment since January 2020.”

After a postal inspector refuted the claim, Goodlett “realized immediately that she and Det. Jaynes were in trouble.” They met in Jaynes’ garage on May 17, 2020.

“At the garage meeting, Det. Jaynes told Det. Goodlett that they needed to get on the same page because if he went down, so to speak, for the ... warrant, she would go down too,” court records show. Goodlett said Jaynes wanted her to claim that a sergeant told them the suspect was getting packages at Taylor’s home.

“Det. Jaynes kept pressuring Det. Goodlett to go along with his false story, and she eventually buckled and agreed to repeat it to others,” according to court records. She repeated the false story to investigators delving into how Taylor’s apartment was targeted as part of the investigation.

Goodlett faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT Aug. 23: Goodlett pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate Taylor’s rights on Tuesday, the Louisville Courier Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Goodlett is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution in the cases against two of her former co-workers, Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany, the Courier Journal reported. Jaynes, 40, and Meany, 35, face federal civil rights and obstruction charges for their alleged roles in approving the affidavit and their alleged efforts to cover up wrongdoing.

Goodlett faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Original report: Former Louisville Metro police Officer Kelly Goodlett is scheduled to enter her plea Tuesday afternoon, court records show. Her attorney, Brandon Marshall, said at a court hearing earlier this month that his client planned to plead guilty, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

Goodlett faces a conspiracy charge after prosecutors said she worked with a detective to put false information into an affidavit for the search of Taylor’s apartment and that, after Taylor’s death, she coordinated with the same detective to cover up evidence of what they’d done. If convicted, Goodlett faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency room technician, died when officers shot her while serving a search warrant at her apartment as part of a narcotics investigation, according to The New York Times and court records. Her death fueled protests nationwide.

Police were investigating Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, on suspicion of selling drugs, according to the Times. Officials previously said that Glover did not live in the apartment and no drugs were found inside.

In court records, prosecutors said Goodlett didn’t object after seeing a draft of the affidavit for the search, in which Detective Joshua Jaynes claimed he had verified with a postal inspector that Glover was getting packages at Taylor’s address. Earlier, he’d told her that there was no evidence Glover was getting packages there, authorities said. Goodlett added to the affidavit that Glover was using Taylor’s address as his own, according to prosecutors.

After a postal inspector refuted the claim, Goodlett and Jaynes met in Jaynes’s garage and “agreed to tell investigators a false story,” prosecutors said. They lied to investigators, saying that a sergeant had said that Glover was getting packages at Taylor’s home, according to court records.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced charges against Goodlett and three others – including Jaynes – in connection with Taylor’s death. A grand jury in Louisville indicted Jaynes, 40, and Sgt. Kyle Meany, 35, on federal civil rights and obstruction charges for their alleged roles in approving the affidavit and their alleged efforts to cover up wrongdoing. The grand jury also indicted former Detective Brett Hankison, 46, on federal civil rights charges for firing shots into Taylor’s apartment through a window and glass door, both of which were covered.

Authorities continue to investigate allegations that the Louisville Metro Police Department systemically violates the Constitution and federal law.

Hankison is also facing three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment in state court.

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