WILLIAMSON - Mingo County Magistrate Pamela Newsome ruled that she found no probable cause to bound defendant Gary D. Goff, 33, of Pinson Fork, Ky., to circuit court and the grand jury on the felony charges of sexual assault, 1st degree and kidnapping that were filed against him following his arrest on June 9 when a call was placed to 911 from a female claiming that she had been held against her will and was forced by Goff to engage in sexual acts.
Further charges of DUI, battery on a police officer and obstructing a police officer were also dismissed per request of the assistant prosecutor, Eugene Cisco.
During the hearing, Goff, who was represented by Williamson Attorney Joshua Ferrell and Brian Abraham, of Logan County, was not called to testify in his defense. Lead investigator and arresting officer Deputy M. Miller was the only witness called by the state during the preliminary hearing.
Miller relayed his recollection from the stand on the events that played out in the early morning hours of June 9, explaining that he had been dispatched to a location on Armory Drive in Williamson near the floodwall after Mingo County 911 received a call in which a female could be heard screaming for help.
Upon arrival, Miller stated that he observed a 2011 GMC Sierra truck bearing Kentucky plates parked in a grassy area, with the engine running. The deputy told the court he observed a shirtless, white male running from the direction of the river toward his truck, who proceeded to jump inside the vehicle and is said to have then drove directly toward the cruiser, swerving and avoiding contact at the last moment.
Miller stated he was in the process of giving a verbal command to Goff to exit the truck, (which he is said to have refused to do), when a partially clothed female wearing no clothes from the waist down came up from the riverbank, screaming for help.
The deputy testified that he pulled his revolver and fired three shots into the vehicle after Goff continued to refuse to exit the truck, two of which are said to have struck the base of one of the wheels.
The information concerning the discharging of the firearm was not described or included in the criminal complaint completed by Miller at the time of Goff’s arrest. When the question as to why it was omitted was raised during the deputy’s cross-examination by Abraham, Miller is recorded as saying the information was not pertinent to the charges.
Miller then relayed to the court that he busted the glass in the driver’s side window with his police baton to be able to reach the defendant, and alleged that he then observed Goff reach into the floor board of the truck, as if to obtain something. At this time, WVSP Trooper J.D. Matheny arrived on scene, and even with two officers there, Miller stated that the defendant continued to refuse to comply with commands to exit the truck, and is accused of becoming physically combative, striking the officers when they attempted to remove him from within.
Miller provided statement that the female’s underwear and shorts were located inside the GMC truck.
As per the criminal complaint, Miller again testified that a strong alcoholic odor was detected on Goff’s breath. Both he and the victim were transported to the Williamson Memorial Hospital (WMH) where Goff did consent to blood alcohol testing. The deputy stated that during the official interview with Goff, the defendant admitted to consuming alcohol at Dandy’s Bar in Williamson, where he spent time with the alleged victim and offered her a ride home, along with two other individuals. Before traveling to the West Williamson location where the alleged crime occurred, the driver and passengers stopped at the Marathon Station on 3rd Avenue and Harvey Street where he purchased the female a pack of cigarettes, then proceeded to drop the other male and female off at their requested stops before continuing to the floodwall.
Under questioning by Abraham, the deputy was asked if the defendant had relayed that he and the alleged victim were fooling around in a sexual manner, and requested to see and read to the court a copy of Goff’s statement, which Miller told him he had not brought to court due to this being a preliminary hearing, not a trial.
Abraham asked the deputy if he was aware of a 2003 court conviction against the alleged victim in Mingo County for falsely swearing a similar claim against another male party, and was also asked why the victim was not present in the courtroom because he had seen her there prior to the hearing beginning.
Cisco, the assistant prosecutor, then spoke up and informed Magistrate Newsome that he had told the victim he did not plan to call her as a witness during the hearing, and that she had left. It was never clarified whether Cisco had instructed the female to leave, or if she had made the decision on her own to do so after she was informed she would not be testifying. It is normal protocol in cases such as this for the victim to be in the courtroom or in a secure area in close proximity should her presence be required.
Abraham addressed the magistrate and voiced that his client had the right to face his accuser, and since she was no longer in the courtroom, stated that would not be possible. Newsome asked the prosecutor why the alleged victim was not present, to which he was recorded as saying, “I wouldn’t call a victim in a public hearing.”
Miller further testified as to the mental state of the female after the alleged incident, saying she was distraught, very emotional, hysterically crying and choking when she tried to speak, and said that he observed red marks that appeared to possibly be caused by choking around her neck, along with bruising on her arms, legs, back, thighs, abdomen and other various parts of her body. A rape kit was completed at the WMH and has been sent to the WVSP Crime Lab in Charleston, along with photos taken of the injuries. The defense attorney asked to view the photos of the injuries and was told by the deputy they were not available.
Abraham questioned the cut that his client had suffered to his head that night, and was told the injury was inflicted by Trooper Matheny’s police baton when Goff allegedly reached under the seat while they were trying to remove him from the truck. When asked whether a weapon was located under the seat or anywhere else in the vehicle, Miller replied “no”.
Abraham argued to the court that Goff’s statement to the police said that he gave the female a ride home, and that she was in no way held against her will or involved in an activity unwillingly. He pointed out to the court that the victim suffered no cuts, laceration or broken bones, and did not fear death. Miller replied that she gave a statement that she had been choked, to which Abraham replied that “choked out” is something that has at times, been reported as consensually occurring during sex, and further stated that he has knowledge of several people who have died from this type of choking.
The surveillance video tape from the Marathon Station was subpoenaed and observed, and the defense attorney argued that you could clearly see that Goff and the alleged victim appeared to be getting along fine, and were in fact, there for quite a while. When questioned as to why Miller failed to interview the other male that was present in the truck while at the place of business, the deputy replied that he was unable to locate him.
Goff remains on home confinement on a $250,000 bond at present time, which was set by Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury. The defendant will be arraigned in circuit court in the near future on the felony fleeing charge.
Mingo County Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks plans to meet with the arresting officer and other law enforcement who were involved to decide whether the evidence substantiates a presentation to the grand jury.
More information will be released on this case as it becomes available.