On Oct. 27, New York State Trooper Christopher Baldner was indicted and pleaded not-guilty after a 10 month investigation run by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Baldner faces second-degree murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the death of 11-year-old child Monica Goods.
The incident occured on Dec. 22, 2020 where Baldner stopped Tristan Goods for speeding on Interstate 87. During the stop there was an altercation which led to Baldner using pepper spray on Goods. This caused Goods to take off. During the chase Baldner rammed Goods’ car twice, flipping the SUV, which ejected and killed Monica Goods.
The Times Herald-Record covered the incident saying,“During the pursuit, in the area of mile marker 93.6, a collision between the 2017 Dodge Journey and the State Police car occurred. The Dodge lost control and overturned.”
Attorney General James’ investigation aimed to shed more light on the situation. “Although they do detail the crashes, the state police press release made no mention that Baldner hit Goods’ SUV twice,” read the Times Herald-record. Looking further into the incident led to the discovery of two collisions.
“Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl,” said James in a press release. “While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case.”
The indictment of Baldner was followed by a denial of bail requested by Baldner’s lawyer John Ingrassia on Nov. 4. The bail request included $100,000, house arrest, electronic monitoring and the surrendering of Baldner’s passport. This request was denied by Ulster County Supreme Court Judge Bryan Rounds.
President of the State Troopers Police Benevolent Association Thomas Mungeer expressed his discontent with Judge Rounds’ decision in a statement made to the New York Daily News. He referred to the judges decision as “an American travesty.”
“I cannot help but wonder how justice was served by what I believe was an unexplainable and irrational decision by the judge,” Mungeer said. “Members of law enforcement have been demoted to a second class of citizens and we continue to play on an unlevel playing field.”
Assistant Attorney General Gashi made a statement contrary to Mungeer with regard to the decision made by Judge Rounds. “Rather than being accidental, the defendant’s actions on Dec. 22 were deliberate, willful and depraved,” Gashi said.
Words from the father of Monica Goods bring light to the division of the defense and prosecution. “He was screaming at me, ‘You were going 100 miles per hour,’” Tristan Goods told the New York Daily News. “I didn’t know what he was going to do next, I was like, this guy is going to kill me now.”
Tristan Goods explained to the Daily News that he feared for his and his family’s lives at that moment and that is why he chose to leave during the traffic stop.
Christopher Baldner is now set to stay in prison for the remainder of his trial. Further hearings with the Ulster County Grand Jury of 23 citizens are needed to deduce whether Baldner is found guilty of the charges placed on him or not.