Mutilation Murder Trial Begins
A Rockaway woman, who spent most of the last year two years in a Staten Island mental institution, went on trial in Queens Criminal Court this week, accused of smothering her stepfather and mutilating his body in her Arverne apartment in July of 2007.
She is charged with murder in the second degree and manslaughter in the first degree in connection with the death of her stepfather, Eric Goodridge, 55, of Staten Island.
Police responding to the murder house at about 1:15 p.m. on July 28, 2007 for a call reporting that a man was bleeding at that location, made a gruesome discovery — the body of a man bound, hand and foot, with material wrapped around his head and his penis cut off.
Detectives quickly began a search for Harris, who rented the upstairs apartment in the two-family house. She had been seen at the home shortly before the 911 call.
Also found near the body was a note that said, "He wrecked my life. At first, I blamed myself, but now I know that it wasn't my fault."
Local sources told The Wave at the time that Harris murdered Goodridge to exact revenge for alleged sexual abuse that began when she was a young girl.
Harris' sister, Carleen Goodridge, told reporters that both she and her sister had been abused by their father from the age of three.
By the time police caught up with Harris, however, she had checked herself into the Bayley-Seton Hospital in Staten Island. She remained there months pending charges.
Court documents charge that Harris covered her stepfather's mouth and neck with a thick towel, forcing the towel into his mouth, causing asphyxiation and killing him.
It is believed that the mutilation to his body was done post-mortem. On her MySpace webpage, Harris referred to herself as "Lady Vengeance" and the "Original Dark Angel."
Jury selection began on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the District Attorney said that it is hard to predict how long the trial would take, but conjectured that jury selection might take a week and then the trial itself another few weeks.