Cassidy Goodson, a 14-year-old high school freshman, has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She is being charged as an adult.
Last week Florida prosecutors released what’s considered a copious amount of evidence to support the case, an unusual move in a first-degree murder charge. However, the circumstances and public intrigue at such a charge for such a young girl might have made this the only move for prosecutors.
Included in the released evidence is a video showing Cassidy calmly demonstrating for police how she strangled her newborn son to death back in September. Warning: It’s certainly disturbing to watch this young child use a Santa Claus doll to show how she did it.
Goodson admits to hiding the pregnancy from her mother, even going so far as to give her mother fake-negative pregnancy tests to prove she wasn’t with child. Then she admits that she secretly gave birth to the child in her parent’s bathroom on September 19, 2012. She used scissors to pull the infant from the birth canal. The live infant fell into the toilet. She picked the infant up and put her hands around the infant’s throat to stop it from breathing. Afterwards, she put the dead infant in a shoebox and stored it in her room. Her mother detected the foul smell, found the box, and called the police.
She said her motive was in not wanting to disappoint her parents and get in trouble.
If convicted of the premeditated murder, Goodson could spend the rest of her life in prison. Her age excludes her from the death penalty. As a juvenile her maximum sentence would see her released at age 22. Jerry Hill, State Attorney, says he feels the decision to try her as adult is fact driven and demands first-degree murder charges.
My Two Cents
This girl is young .She hasn’t ever been in trouble. I get that infant safe haven laws exist to help mothers in crisis safely deliver their babies, but the problem is that many of these young girls don’t know about, much less understand, such laws. All they have on their young, feeble, and sporadic brains is shame, fear, and panic.
Does that make it okay to hide and kill an infant? Of course not! However, it also isn’t reason to turn one life lost into two lives lost. To me, and this is just my novice attempt at psychology, premeditation doesn’t gee haw with Goodson picking the infant up out of the toilet to then strangle the infant. If she had planned from the start to kill the child, it would’ve been easier to allow the infant to drown in the toilet or even push its tiny face into the water….not pull it out and then physically strangle it.
I also keep in mind that Florida abortion law allows abortion up to 23 weeks/6 days, meaning that the same girl could’ve legally chosen an abortion just a few weeks prior without any legal ramifications. Again, this fact doesn’t make either right, but it does give some perspective on the absurdity of a few weeks separating this girl spending the rest of her life behind bars and another girl anonymously going on with her life after terminating an almost 24 week old fetus.
Infanticide is a crime, and she should certainly be punished and be made to attend a great deal of counseling, community service, and so forth. But, should she really go to jail for the rest of her life, presumably, at just 14-years-old, for the next 60 to 70 years?