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High School Freshman Cassidy Goodson Faces Life in Prison After Killing Her Infant

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?

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User Comments
  1. shavkat

    On November 19, 2012 at 1:38 am

    interesting story

  2. girishpuri

    On November 19, 2012 at 2:43 am

    nice share

  3. martie

    On November 19, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I do agree with much of what you said, but there is probably much more to the story than what we know. For example, if the mother thought the child was pregnant why didn’t she take her for a physical, and what did she say to the child, that the child fear disappointing her parents to such a degree?

    I think before deciding to try her as an adult there should have been a lot more background done on her life, as well as some psychological evaluation to determine if the child’s cold blooded actions were due to the fact that she really did not feel anything, or due to the fact that the entire situation traumatized her so that she simply shut down.

    Unfortunately, there are children who even at 14 would pose a risk to society if they were not tried as adult. However, this should be determined prior to bringing the child to trial.

  4. toro90

    On November 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

    interesting article. thank you for sharing

  5. observer1

    On November 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Agree with you. You can’t make judgements about anyone aged 14 that will effectively end their life. It’s not civilised

  6. meandu

    On November 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    It is true that we should not pass judgement about others and especially about teenagers. However, at fourteen you would think that she knew right from wrong. Chocking a baby takes someone who is not very empathetic to others. She pulled this baby out of the toilet and then strangled it to death and although I am no expert on how long someone lives while being choked, I believe she would have had plenty of time to rethink her decission to kill this baby. And there was a decission to murder this baby that is why she choked it to death.

  7. Karen Gross

    On November 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    What a horrible situation! I’m sure that there is much more to this story than the details released. I don’t know what Florida’s statutory rape laws are, but this baby had a father. If the 14 year old was the victim of rape or incest, that would make a huge difference in whether or not she is tried as an adult, or whether the whole family should be arrested.

    Is it a good thing that Americans are making the connection that if she had gone for an abortion a few days earlier (if Florida allows for partial birth abortion) this story wouldn’t even have made the news. Even if she had strangled the baby before she cut the cord it would still legally be an abortion. Will this make Americans rethink the abortion laws, or will they be less horrified at mothers who deliver in secret and kill their babies?

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