'My Mind Snapped,' Murder Suspect Testifies
Posted March 26, 2008
Updated March 27, 2008
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh woman charged with killing her ex-girlfriend's partner testified on her own behalf Wednesday that she was distraught when her partner left her.
And that's when Victoria Graham Goode ran into Veronica Elaine Malone last July.
"My mind snapped," she said. "It was unbelievable."
Goode, 55, of 1229 Bentley Lane, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 1, 2007, death of Veronica Elaine Malone. Malone and her nephew were helping Tanya Lynette Mattison move out of Goode's house when Goode ran into them with her car.
Malone died at a local hospital; her nephew, Darrian Malone, was seriously injured.
Goode also faces two counts of attempted murder, once count each of larceny and assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill and larceny.
During her testimony, Goode described relationship problems she and Mattison were having, how they tried to work them out and how Mattison wanted to end their six-year relationship.
Goode said she had left town for a family emergency on the day of the hit and run and that "she lost it" when she returned and saw Veronica Malone's vehicle parked at her house.
She also testified that she remembered Mattison telling her after the crash that she was going to jail but said she does not remember hitting anyone.
"I told her (Mattison) I couldn't have done that," Goode said.
It wasn't until she saw the police report that she knew what she had done, she said.
During cross-examination, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cruden said Goode's memory was selective and questioned her on why she could remember some of what happened but not hitting the victims.
"I caused the accident, because they said I did, but I don't remember hitting anyone," Goode said, saying she never saw Veronica Malone.
Earlier Wednesday, Malone's twin sister recalled for the state a conversation she had with her injured son in the hospital and how her sister died.
"(Darrian) said: 'Mom, I'm sorry. I tried, I tried to save her,'" Monica Malone Alston testified.
Minutes later, she said, her sister, who had been in surgery, died.
"I didn't get to see my sister (alive) before I buried her," she said. "I didn't get to kiss her until she was in the casket."
Prosecutors say Goode first swiped Malone with the car, then tried to attack her with a hammer, then returned to her car and hit Malone a second time, killing her.
Goode's attorney, Bryan Collins, doesn't dispute that his client killed Veronica Malone. But he said earlier this week the death didn't constitute first-degree murder, because it wasn't premeditated.
He asked the jury to find her guilty of second-degree murder. Prosecutors are asking for life in prison.
Friends also testified that Goode's actions were out of character and a reaction to being told that her lover had left her for Malone.
Prosecutors said that regardless of her emotional state, Goode knew her actions could seriously injure or kill someone. They said Goode made verbal threats at the scene and intended to kill Malone.
Both sides rested, and the jury deliberated for more than two hours Wednesday, asking to review evidence and listening twice in open court to a 911 call on the day of the crash.