Attorney: Hit-and-Run Wasn't Premeditated
Posted March 24, 2008 8:22 a.m. EDT
Updated March 26, 2008 11:52 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Victoria Graham Goode entered a Wake County courtroom Monday as the trial in which she is accused of running over and killing a romantic rival opened.
Goode, 55, of 1229 Bentley Lane, faces a single charge of murder and two charges of attempted murder, along with one count each of larceny and assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill and larceny.
As the trial began, the prosecutor told jurors that Goode was "on a mission" when she attacked Veronica Elaine Malone in July 2007. Malone and her nephew were helping Tanya Lynette Mattison move out of Goode's house on Bentley Lane when Goode ran into them with her car.
The prosecution says she 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.
In their opening remarks, Goode's attorneys didn't dispute that she killed Malone with her car. They contend, however, that the death was not premeditated and doesn't constitute first-degree murder.
Friends said earlier Goode's actions were out of character and a reaction to being told that her lover had left her for Malone.
"This was just something that happened, it was never planned. She was just emotional, struggling with the relationship," Goode's friend Elizabeth Peak explained.
Prosecutors say that regardless of her emotional state, Goode knew her actions could seriously injure or kill someone. They say Goode made verbal threats at the scene and intended to kill Malone.
"She does deny that it was a deliberate murder," Public Defender Bryan Collins claimed. "She snapped, she lost it and it caused Victoria Malone to die."
He asked the jury to find her guilty of second-degree murder, rather than first-degree murder.