John Goodwin, a New Hampshire piano teacher awaiting verdict on charges of child sexual assault, shot himself in the chest just outside the courtroom where he was standing. According to the Hampshire Union Leader, the 75-year-old Goodwin used a small caliber gun to shoot himself on the last day of this three-day trial.
According to WMUR news, the shocking incident unfolded at the Rockingham County Superior Court on Friday morning. Shortly after 11 a.m. on Friday, emergency personnel were seen outside the courthouse after they received information about an individual who shot himself in the chest. People assembled outside the court heard a gunshot wound from the parking lot of the courthouse where minutes ago, John Goodwin was seen sitting inside a car. According to an eyewitness, Goodwin, after getting out of his car, walked towards some bushes and a few seconds later, a loud gunshot was heard. Court bailiffs and sheriff’s deputies were seen rushing towards Goodwin, who had by then slumped to the ground. An unidentified distraught woman was the first to reach John Goodwin and was seen on the ground, holding him. The eyewitness then proceeded to help Goodwin until paramedics arrived a few minutes later. He was taken to a nearby hospital following which he was listed to be in a critical condition.
Goodwin was awaiting a verdict at the end of a three-day trial in a case where he was accused of sexually molesting one of his former students. The incident dates back to the three-year period between May 2002 and October 2005, reports say. It was on Thursday that closing arguments on the case ended and on Friday, deliberations on the case was supposed to commence in the morning. Following John Goodwin’s suicide attempt, the verdict has been postponed. It is unclear if the verdict would be read out today itself.
During the trial, prosecutors alleged that John Goodwin started sexually molesting a boy in 2002 — when the boy was just an 11-year-old. This apparently continued till 2005. The boy, now 24, alleged that Goodwin gave him massages and back rubs before commencement of a full-fledged sexual abuse. In Goodwin’s defense, his lawyer alleged that financial records from the home-based music school where John Goodwin taught piano classes doesn’t show the student to be a student of John when the alleged sexual abuse happened.
Before shooting himself, Goodwin had pleaded not guilty and had chosen not to testify in the courtroom. On Thursday, John Goodwin’s wife was cross-examined by prosecutors. The couple ran a home-based musical academy named Goodwin Music Studio in the Atkinson neighborhood of New Hampshire.
[Image Via Union Leader]