A former detective who falsified an affidavit for a search warrant leading to the death of Breonna Taylor has pleaded guilty to her crime. The officer was charged with working with another cop to lie about the warrant, but when faced with a lengthy sentence decided to admit her wrongdoing versus going to trial.
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Kelly Goodlett entered her plea before U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings in a federal court in Louisville, Kentucky. Goodlett briefly answered “yes,” to several questions about her rights and the ramifications of her plea peppered by the judge.
Some of the plea hearing was kept under seal and not discussed openly in court.
Taylor’s mom Tamika Palmer attended the court date, weeping as Goodlett answered in the affirmative to lying to set up the raid.
The mother did not say a word after the proceeding, according to WLWT.
One of four ex-detectives from the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department charged on Aug. 4 for their role in the botched raid of Taylor’s home, the 35-year-old was charged with conspiring with another officer to falsify the warrant not only resulted in the Black woman’s death on March 13, 2020, and then working with her colleagues to cover up the falsification.
According to the federal prosecutors, Goodlett and Joshua Jaynes, another officer connected to the 26-year-old’s premature demise, met in a garage after the fatal shooting to reconcile their stories on the false information used to make the erroneous warrant used to justify raiding the apartment.
Jaynes and Sgt. Kyle Meany, who is still employed by the LMPD, have been charged with civil rights violations and obstruction of justice for using false information in order to get the search warrant.
Former Detective Brett Hankison was charged with civil rights violations for allegedly using excessive force by shooting carelessly in Taylor’s apartment.
Hankison was acquitted by a jury of a state wanton endangerment charge for shooting into Taylor’s neighbors’ home adjacent to the apartment during the raid in March. The officer was fired for his actions.
Hankison was also the only officer charged who was actually on the scene of the tragic night.
While the three officers were all indicted, Goodlett was not. She was simply charged for her crimes in a federal information filing. Experts suggest this points to some sort of cooperation with investigators.
United States Attorney General Merrick Garland said when he brought charges forth on the three officers on Thursday, Aug. 4, “Ms. Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when defendants Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany, and Kelly Goodlett sought a warrant to search Ms. Taylor’s home knowing that the officers lacked probable cause for the search.”
“We allege that the defendants knew the affidavit in support of that warrant contained false and misleading information and that it omitted material information,” he continued, saying, “Among other things, the affidavit falsely claimed that officers had verified that the target of the alleged drug trafficking operation had received packages at Ms. Taylor’s address.”
Jaynes and Goodlett lied and said they had proof from a U.S. Postal Inspector that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, a central character in a narcotic investigation, was getting packages delivered to Taylor’s home.
“In fact, Defendants Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true,” Garland stated.
Garland contends had not the two lied to push the affidavit through, Taylor might still be alive. Then, the two “took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct after Ms. Taylor was killed.”
After trying to cover their acts up, “they conspired to mislead federal, state, and local authorities who were investigating the incident … met up in a garage where they agreed to tell investigators a false story.”
Text messages, phone records, and more support these claims.
While details of her plea deal regarding the aforementioned counts are unclear, prosecutors have agreed not to bring any more charges against her, according to WFPL.com.
Goodlett resigned the day after the charges were announced and now that she has officially pleaded guilty, she will be sentenced on Nov. 22.
Grady alluded to “extenuating circumstances” that could call the court to push that date back.
The former officer faces up to five years in prison for the conviction and a fine of up to $250,000.
Jaynes, Meany, and Hankison, who have all been fired, face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on the civil rights charges.