The victims looked on smiling and Goodwin’s mother, Renata, buried her face in her hands as Lee County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Hughes issued the verdict Friday afternoon at Lee County T.K. Davis Jr Justice Center..
Both parties were escorted to the rear exit of the courtroom and were not available for comment.
The decision by the jury was unanimous despite some speculation that the presence of the the BB gun found in former Auburn safety Mike McNeil’s rental car could drop the charge to second-degree robbery.
At the request of Assistant District Attorney Kenny Gibbs, Hughes revoked Goodwin’s bond.
Lauryn Lauderdale appealed and a bond hearing was set for April 18 at 9 a.m.
The sentencing hearing will be on June 19 at 9 a.m. and will also be held at the Justice Center.
While Lauderdale hopes he will be released on bail after the April hearing, she said she expects Hughes to deny her appeal and for Goodwin to be held until his June trial.
Assistant District Attorney Kenny Gibbs said he was pleased with the verdict and commended the jury for their attentiveness to the evidence and testimonials.
“Other than the defendants on confession, I think the testimony of his three co-athletes at the time Deangelo Benton, Michael Dyer and Neiko Thorpe ... and the fact that the defendant came and got the gun from Dyer ... that was our most compelling evidence,” Gibbs said.
Dyer testified Wednesday that he denied Goodwin his gun, however he claimed Goodwin took it anyway despite Dyer’s efforts to stop him.
Under the old sentencing system, Goodwin’s class A felony involving a gun would put his minimum sentencing at 20 years with a maximum of life imprisonment.
Under the new voluntary sentencing guidelines, there is a chance of Goodwin’s term being lessened, however the choice of which to employ belongs to the judge, according to Lauderdale.
Still, she is not optimistic.
“I expect that the state will ask that it be a minimum of 20 years,” Lauderdale said of her expectations for the trial. “I’m certainly going to argue for volunteer sentencing guidelines.”
“The plea before trial was 21 years (so) we didn’t have anything to risk,” Lauderdale said.
After the court adjourned, Lauderdale remained adamant that Goodwin’s actions were influenced by his use of synthetic marijuana or “spice” and blamed Auburn University for allowing its use to occur.
“They knew about the dangers of spice and they didn’t do anything about it,” Lauderdale said. “Auburn University was more concerned about winning a national championship than protecting its players.”
Lauderdale said she believes the jury should have known more about the dangers of spice and the chances of her client committing this felony would have been reduced had Auburn tested football players for the now controlled substance.
The court did not allow evidence to support her claim ruling it immaterial.
“Our argument is ... that the jury should have been able to hear all the evidence not just what the state wanted to hear. We disagree with the state’s position that it is immaterial,” Lauderdale said.
When asked how this verdict will affect the others’ chances of getting the charges reduced to second-degree robbery, Gibbs said he does not believe this verdict will help them at all.
“I don’t think one has anything to do with the other, frankly speaking, and they’re all charged with robbery first-degree, and that’s how we’re going to proceed at trial,” Gibbs said.
“I’d be a little concerned if I were them.”
The trials for Shaun Kitchens, Dakota Mosley and McNeil are scheduled to begin in June.
The exact dates for their trials have not been set.