POCATELLO — A woman who pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor battery for poisoning her then-husband in 2020 was sentenced to 180 days in jail Wednesday.
Courtney Goody was arrested in March 2021 after the family of her ex-husband Jared Goody provided Chubbuck police with lab results showing extremely elevated levels of selenium and thallium, as well as a recording of her confessing the crimes.
Magistrate Judge Aaron Thompson opened the proceedings by indicating he was unwilling to accept the agreed-upon Alford plea — which is made when a defendant accepts they could be found guilty by a jury based on evidence but insists they did not commit the alleged crime.
Curtis Smith, Goody’s attorney, said not accepting the Alford plea could affect a pending child custody case involving the couple — who have three children together — so Thompson agreed to accept the plea.
Before issuing the sentence, Thompson spoke directly to Goody, saying he received “a ton” of letters on her behalf. He said that while she did not have an extensive criminal record, administering a lesser penalty would “depreciate the seriousness” of the crime and would not serve as a deterrence to future similar crimes.
Thompson ordered Goody to serve 180 days in the county jail, with credit for nine days already served, and pay $500 in fines. The judge also gave the prosecution 60 days in which to file for restitution.
Goody was originally charged with felony aggravated assault, but it was dismissed following a preliminary hearing. The misdemeanor charges were then filed.
The reasons for the dismissal were among Smith’s key talking points Wednesday.
The attorney addressed the Chubbuck police detective first assigned to this case, saying that the detective has since been fired from the department for lying in official documents.
In a statement to EastIdahoNews.com following the sentencing, Bannock County Prosecutor Stephen Herzog confirmed the lead detective on the case was decertified as a peace officer as a result of being untruthful in an unrelated matter.
Asked by the judge if he had any evidence the detective lied about anything in this case, Smith said he did not but added the officer commented during one of his testimonies that a recording of Goody had to be “manipulated” in order for her voice to be heard. Smith said he was concerned about the manipulation tactics used.
Smith also spoke about Jared lying under oath at previous hearings. He pointed to a particular testimony during which Jared said he had not smoked marijuana, which Smith said played a role in this case.
He contended that “daily” marijuana use led to the high selenium concentration in Jared’s system. When Thompson asked if he had any proof tying the marijuana use to the high selenium levels, Smith said he did not.
Smith further explained to EastIdahoNews.com after the hearing that his meaning in laying out Jared’s marijuana use was to say that marijuana intake was “a factor” in his selenium levels. He said that plants soak up heavy metals — like selenium — from the soil and can be ingested through consumption of the plant.
In his statement, Herzog said the credibility of Jared was “compromised because it could be argued by the defense that he was untruthful under oath during the preliminary hearing.”
Smith spoke about The Carlson Company, the lab used by the Goodys to test Jared for poisoning.
That company, Smith told the court, has been tied to false tests in the past. Furthermore, no toxicology expert ever signed an affidavit regarding the tests or agreed to testify on behalf of the result of those tests — despite what Smith described as 15 or so calls from the prosecution to do so.
EastIdahoNews.com has contacted The Carlson Company for comment and will post its response if we receive one.
Finally, Smith said the confession collected by the Goody family was achieved through what he called “religious manipulation.”
As Smith described Jared’s father, Bryon Goody, pushing Goody to confess in a recording, Bryon stood up in the courtroom and yelled at the attorney, prompting his removal from the room.
“Bulls***,” Bryon said. “That’s bulls***, Smith, and you know it.”
After a few brief exchanges between the two sides of the courtroom, court marshals regained order and the hearing continued.
Prior to Smith’s comments, Jared offered a victim impact statement lasting roughly 30 minutes.
He spoke about the many symptoms he experienced due to the selenium poisoning and described the experience as months of having “the life leeched from my soul and body.”
“Every day was a battle for my life,” he said. “I kept fighting. I tried my best to focus on a day when the symptoms would subside. I’m still waiting for that day. It has not come.”
Bannock County Deputy Prosecutor Brian Trammell also spoke, urging Thompson to issue the maximum sentence for the charges.
Herzog, who, like Smith, declined to comment on the case before the hearing, said in his statement that his office found gaining a felony conviction “more and more unlikely” as it learned more about the case. You can read his entire statement here.
Given the opportunity to speak on her own behalf, Goody declined, based on the advice of her attorney. Smith said that due to ongoing child custody contests and a civil suit, it would be in Goody’s best interest not to speak at the hearing.
After hearing from both sides, Thompson offered his judgment.
He said that he believed Goody acquired selenium and administered it to her husband, though he could not say that her intention was ever to kill him.
Thompson said that he did not “buy” that Jared’s high selenium levels were due to marijuana use, but he did believe that Goody confessed to police that she was poisoning him.
He said he came to court Wednesday morning hoping Goody would “own it” — referring to her accepting responsibility for her crimes. Thompson said that based on the Alford plea, she had not “owned it,” but added that he understood why she didn’t based on pending litigation.
Thompson said probation would “depreciate the seriousness” of the crime and would not serve to deter others from committing similar crimes in the future — what he believed were the two most important things while issuing this sentence.
Finally, Thompson said he took the 120 days Goody spent on house arrest when she was first arrested into account.
After ordering her to the custody of the Bannock County Jail, Thompson had Goody removed from the courtroom by court marshals.
Jared’s family and friends — of which there were about 75 in attendance at the courthouse — were allowed to leave the courtroom first. Then Goody’s family and friends — around 25 — were allowed to leave through a door on the opposite side of the courtroom.
“I feel like she should have gone to jail for much longer, but I’m happy that she didn’t walk away free,” Jared Goody told EastIdahoNews.com after the sentencing. “I just wanted justice served for everybody that she has affected.”
Herzog said in his statement that he understands the results may not have been what the Goodys wanted.
“This is not a perfect resolution,” he said. “Our office sympathizes with Jared and the Goodys. We understand their frustration and anger. However, given the challenges presented by the facts, there has been some degree of accountability rather than an acquittal at trial with no accountability at all.”
Following the hearing, Smith said he appreciates the thought that Thompson put into the case prior to making his decision. He added that there were some things he believes could lighten the sentence if he is granted a motion to reconsider. See all of his comments in the video above.