2009-10-09 / Top Stories

Mutilation Slay Jury Wants Woman Freed

By Howard Schwach

The jury that last week convicted a woman of manslaughter, who had killed and mutilated her stepfather, has made a plea for her to be released with "time served" when she is sentenced on October 29.

"There wasn't one person that wanted to see her go to prison. If there were some way we could have done that, we would have, but there was no way out of it," jury foreman Anthony Marshall told reporters outside of the Queens Supreme Court.

A number of the jurors - at least 10 of the seven women and the five men who heard the case - said that they would write a letter to the presiding judge, urging him to sentence Arverne resident Brigitte Harris to "time served" after she was acquitted of second degree murder and convicted of second degree manslaughter in relation to the death of her stepfather, Eric Goodridge, in her apartment. Goodridge was handcuffed to a chair and suffocated. His body was mutilated by cutting off his penis.

Harris' defense was that Goodridge had been sexually assaulting her and her sister for years, and that she had to find a way to stop him from doing the same to her sister's daughters, who lived with the stepfather in Staten Island. She told the jury that she did not mean to kill her stepfather, that she was just trying to stop him from harming the young girls.

The jury apparently agreed with Harris. "We came to a decision pretty quickly. None of us felt that she deserved to get any murder charges or anything, so we decided on Manslaughter Two," an unidentified juror said. Harris' lawyer told reporters, "The jury found that it was okay, in terms that it wasn't murder, and it was serious physical injury. She needed to do what she needed to do to stop him, because he just wouldn't stop."

One female juror, who asked not to be identified, said, "No one should go through what she had to go through. I just felt to put her away for 30 or 40 years is not justice. Hopefully, she will be able to get the help that she needs and will be able to make a life for herself when she gets out.

Harris faces a sentence of five to fifteen years, but she will be eligible for parole in less than two years, a legal expert told The Wave.

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