Jason Meade, the Ohio sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. in Columbus last December, was indicted on murder charges Thursday, prosecutors announced.
The now-retired officer was reportedly pursuing a fugitive on behalf of a U.S Marshals Service task force when he fatally shot Goodson, who was not the subject of the manhunt.
Details of the fatal shooting are vague and contradictory, and no dashcam or body camera footage of the incident exists, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s office. Meade has claimed that Goodson pointed a gun at him, while relatives of the 23-year-old claimed he was unarmed.
Meade turned himself in on Thursday and was booked into the county lock-up, jail records show. He’s due in court Friday to answer three felony murder charges.
Details Fuzzy in Casey Goodson Jr. Killing
On Dec. 4, 2020, while searching for a fugitive wanted by the federal government, then-Deputy Jason Meade encountered Casey Goodson Jr. off of Ferris Road in the northeast side of Columbus, according to local reports.
The sequence of events and key details are in dispute. Franklin County sheriff’s deputies are not required to wear body cameras, and the episode was apparently not captured by the officer’s dashcam.
Meade has claimed that he pursued Goodson when the latter waved a firearm in his direction while driving by. Investigators said they recovered a gun from the scene, but no further details have been made available.
Goodson’s loved ones counter that he was carrying a sandwich and walking into his grandmother’s home. They’ve also noted that the 23-year-old was licensed to carry a handgun, while still maintaining he was unarmed at the time of his death.
It’s not clear what confrontation — if any — preceded the shooting. But Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz told reporters in March that Goodson was shot six times. Five bullets entered his back and one struck his buttock, the coroner said.
U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin originally repeated Meade’s assertion that the 23-year-old was brandishing a gun before the deputy fatally shot him, but he later said the comments were made with “insufficient information.” He did not clarify but added that Meade was “not performing a mission” on behalf of his agency in pursuing Goodson.
Lawyers: Jason Meade Was ‘Within His Duties’
In a statement released just after the deputy was formally indicted, lawyers for Meade reiterated the claim that Goodson was armed.
“Mr. Meade acted within his lawful duties as an officer of the law when he pursued Mr. Goodson to investigate the felony weapons offense he witnessed,” attorneys wrote.
The statement goes on to claim that Meade followed Goodson on foot to the backyard of a home and demanded the 23-year-old put his hands up. Meade’s lawyers say that the deputy opened fire only after Goodson pointed a handgun at him — a detail that does not appear in earlier reports of the fatal encounter.
Meade was reportedly placed on administrative leave after the shooting. He retired in July, citing disability.
According to Franklin County jail records, the former deputy faces two murder charges and one count of reckless homicide, all felony offenses. If convicted of murder, Meade could face a sentence of 15 years to life.
Dallas Baldwin, the Franklin County Sheriff and Jason Meade’s one-time boss, issued a statement on Twitter Thursday after the charges were formally filed.
“After the grand jury indictment today, I’ve reminded my staff that while everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the standards for being a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy must be even higher than that of our criminal justice system,” Baldwin wrote.
The sheriff said that his office would review the facts uncovered during the investigation “when we’re able to fully access them” in order to “determine how this agency can best learn from this tragedy.”
“This office has a professional obligation to do everything in its power to ensure the community and our deputies are kept safe,” he added. “As I’ve said from the very beginning, I pray for everyone involved in this tragedy.”