Detective who lied to get Breonna Taylor warrant pleads guilty

Detective who lied to get Breonna Taylor warrant pleads guilty
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The death of Breonna Taylor is, in my mind, the epitome of tragedy.

When the police showed up, they didn’t knock or identify themselves. Taylor’s boyfriend thought it was a home invasion and acted accordingly. She was killed in the crossfire.

Authorities declined to charge any of the officers for Taylor’s death, but at least someone is going to pay.

The Justice Department announced today that former Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Detective Kelly Goodlett, 35, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to commit two federal crimes. Goodlett admitted that she conspired with another former LMPD detective, both to falsify an affidavit to obtain a warrant to search Breonna Taylor’s home without probable cause, which resulted in Taylor’s death, and to cover up the false warrant by lying to criminal investigators after Taylor was killed.

According to the plea agreement, Goodlett acknowledged that she helped another LMPD detective, and their supervisor obtain a warrant to search Taylor’s home, despite knowing that the officers lacked probable cause to do so. To establish probable cause, information in an affidavit accompanying a search warrant must be truthful and timely. Goodlett admitted that she knew that the affidavit in support of the warrant to search Taylor’s home was false, misleading and stale.

First, Goodlett admitted that key information in the warrant affidavit was false and misleading.  For example, the other LMPD detective claimed in the warrant affidavit that a U.S. Postal Inspector had verified that a target of LMPD’s narcotics investigation, J.G., had been receiving packages at Taylor’s home. Goodlett knew this claim was false because the other detective told her he had learned that “there’s nothing there” and that the Postal Service had not flagged Taylor’s address for receiving any suspicious packages.

The warrant affidavit also claimed that J.G. used Taylor’s home “as his current home address.” Goodlett admitted that this claim was misleading because officers knew that J.G. did not live at Taylor’s home. In fact, Goodlett acknowledged that she and the other detective knew of no evidence that J.G. had even visited Taylor’s home for several weeks before the warrant was obtained.

Goodlett pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings. Goodlett will be sentenced at a hearing to be scheduled at a later date.  According to the plea agreement, Goodlett faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

You’re going to want to read the whole thing because Goodlett and her co-worker were clearly pieces of work.

First, let me say that I’m glad someone is going to pay for what happened. What bothers me, though, is that she’s facing time for lying on the affidavit and for covering up what happened, but not specifically for Breonna Taylor’s murder.

When someone commits a crime that results in a homicide, they can be charged with murder. Goodlett, in my mind, should be charged with it as well. She had to know that it would be a no-knock raid and just how dangerous those could be.

What’s more, Goodlett knew that the suspect hadn’t been to Taylor’s home in weeks, yet she still falsified information to get the warrant.

How does she not get charged specifically for Taylor’s death?

My only guess is that this was a plea deal agreed up so she wouldn’t be charged with that particular bit. If so, I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. Trials are expensive and uncertain, so getting the conviction here and now like this means you know she’s going to be punished.

Still, Breonna Taylor was killed for no reason. Someone should pay for that, and pay specifically for her death, not as a side note. Luckily, indictments for others have already come through.

So much for the whole, “If you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about” BS some people like to spread.