WYPR News

News coverage, Series and Commentary from WYPR's award winning news staff.

Officer Caesar Goodson was acquitted Thursday of all charges against him in the police custody death of Freddie Gray.

Goodson, who drove the police van that transported Gray, faced the most serious charges in the case: second degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun

Officer Caesar Goodson, one of the six Baltimore city police officers indicted in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, was acquitted Thursday of second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) and reckless endangerment. In December, Officer William G. Porter's trial ended with a hung jury and last month Officer Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges including reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. 

Judge Barry Williams issued his verdict in the Goodson trial on Thursday morning. Maryland Morning host Tom Hall anchored special live coverage of the verdict. He was joined in-studio by lawyer F. Michael Higginbotham of University of Baltimore Law School and Ray Kelly, president of the No Boundaries Coalition. WYPR reporters P. Kenneth Burns and Rachel Baye provided live coverage from the city courthouse. 

P. Kenneth Burns

  A Baltimore judge is poised to deliver his verdict in the murder trial of an officer who drove the police van where a black arrestee's neck was broken, triggering some of the worst riots the city has ever seen.

Caesar Goodson was charged with murder, manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

John Lee

On a recent evening at the Birdland Sports Bar on Belair Road, Kathy Szeliga was making her pitch to about 30 people, most of them already on board with her campaign.

“36 years ago, Mark and I eloped,” Szeliga said. “We had five dollars in our pocket, minimum wage jobs and no car.”

But they went on to start a construction business. Szeliga plans to use her ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ story to contrast herself with her opponent for Maryland’s open U.S. Senate seat, Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

“You know, Ivy League, privileged white guy versus, you know the blue collar small business owner,” Szeliga said.

Nicole Price, 21st Century Schools

  Maintenance inspections at public schools around the state tell local school authorities if there are issues affecting the health or safety of students and staff. But a state audit released Wednesday found that hundreds of these inspection reports hadn’t reached school officials more than a year after the inspections were completed.

Rachel Baye

Maryland’s two-year ban on hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is expected to end in October 2017. But a small town in northern Garrett County wants to keep the drilling technique from ever being used within its borders.

Nicole Price, 21st Century School Building Plan

The Baltimore City school system is spending $1 billion to update and renovate nearly two dozen overcrowded and outdated schools as part of the 21st Century Schools Building Plan. But closing schools and buildings and moving students, no matter the goal, is not easy, especially for communities that have lost many of their public institutions over the years.

Marvin Walker’s daughter attends Samuel F.B. Morse Elementary School in a Southwest Baltimore neighborhood of vacant homes and broken sidewalks. It’s a school that’s slated to close and its students are to move to nearby Frederick Elementary, which is being modernized to accommodate more students under the system’s 21st Century School Building Plan.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams was sharply critical Monday morning of prosecutors who argued that Officer Caesar Goodson gave Freddie Gray a rough ride in the back of his police van that lead to a fatal spine injury.

Closing arguments in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson are scheduled Monday morning before Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

Goodson faces the most serious charges in the death of Freddie Gray; second degree depraved heart murder, criminal negligent vehicular manslaughter, gross negligent vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

But the state has had a hard time thus far proving its case against the officer it has charged.

Lawyers for Officer Caesar Goodson, on trial in the death of Freddie Gray, called Officer Edward Nero to the stand Friday.

It was the first time Nero, who was recently acquitted in the same case, returned to Courthouse East after Circuit Judge Barry Williams found him not guilty of second degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in May.

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