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Judge declares mistrial in Meade murder trial for a second time

Defendant Jason Meade, back, and his attorney Mark Collins, front, listen to opening statements Jan. 31, 2024, in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Meade is charged with murder after shooting and killing Casey Goodson Jr. on Dec. 4, 2020.
Brooke LaValley
The Columbus Dispatch
Former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Michael Jason Meade testifies in his own defense on Wednesday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Meade testified he shot Casey Goodson Jr. after the 23-year-old pointed a gun at him on Dec. 4, 2020.

Updated: February, 16, 2024 at 5:26 p.m.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David Young re-declared a mistrial Friday afternoon in the Jason Meade murder trial, after initially rescinding that decision.

Around 11:30 a.m. Friday, Young declared a mistrial in the case after jurors reported they were not able to reach a verdict. Moments later, Young rescinded that decision.

Young called jurors back to the courtroom around 2 p.m. and thanked them for their service. He declared the final mistrial and said the jurors were unable to come to a unanimous conclusion.

Before the first mistrial was declared, Young said the jurors were asking a question on whether or not they can return a verdict of "yes" on one count that Meade was justified in shooting Casey Goodson Jr. in December 2020 and that he was not justified on another count.

Goodson’s family and prosecutors have said he was holding a sandwich bag in one hand and his keys in the other when he was fatally shot. They do not dispute that Goodson may have been carrying a gun and note he had a license to carry a firearm.

The jurors had asked similar questions during their three days of deliberation.

Meade was charged with two counts of murder and one count of reckless homicide.

Meade testified during his trial, claiming he shot Goodson while he was entering a home in the North Linden area, after he saw Goodson point a gun at him.

Meade was in the area as part of a U.S. Marshal Task Force searching for a suspect in an unrelated case.

During the trial, the jury also heard testimony from members of Goodson's family, expert witnesses and other law enforcement officers.

Attorney Sean Walton, who is representing Goodson's family in a civil trial against Meade, told reporters the family needs to trust in the justice system and stressed he doesn’t believe the case is over yet.

"So what we see is an officer who was allowed to, execute a tried and true blueprint on how to get away with murder. But he has not gotten away with murder. As you see, the judge is right now planning for a second trial. We want a speedy trial," Walton said.

Goodson's family was present at the courthouse but did not speak to reporters following the mistrial. The family left the seventh floor of Franklin County courthouse appearing frustrated at Young's decision.

Meade's attorney Mark Collins told reporters this wasn’t the outcome they wanted. Collins was hesitant to speculate what could happen next in this case. Meade did not appear outside the courtroom to speak to reporters.

"Unfortunately, this was part of the process. And, we believe 100% that every juror gave it their best and try to be as fair and impartial as possible. And we appreciate that," Collins said.

Collins said his client was thankful for the jurors' work.

"Jason wanted us to pass along to you guys in the community, how much he supports the jurors' effort and their fairness and impartiality, and... that's all he asked is to have them try the best they could," Collins said.

This wasn't the first murder trial of a former police officer that has ended in a mistrial where Collins represented the defendant. He was also the lawyer for former Columbus Police Vice Officer Andrew Mitchell. Mitchell was charged with murder for killing Donna Castleberry in 2018 but was found not guilty last year.

That case also ended in a mistrial in its first time in court.

"I've gone through this before, had had a retrial on a police case. And as Yogi Berra said, it's deja vu all over again," Collins said.

Walton said that the family's pending civil trial is still open, but it is unlikely to happen before the criminal trial is over. Walton said whenever Meade goes to court next, Goodson’s family is ready.

"We're ready to do this again next week? If need be. But, Jason Meade will be held accountable for taking Casey Goodson Jr.'s life," Walton said.

Young said after the trial that there will likely be a scheduling conference to determine next steps in the case soon.

Special Prosecutors Tim Merkle and Gary Schroyer will decide whether or not to bring charged again against Meade. Neither spoke to reporters after the trial.

Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack's office said in a statement after the trial ended that the office's thoughts are with Goodson's family and the special prosecutors will decide whether to retry the case.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.