“I’ll never get to see him be a father, because he never had children,” Pauline Barnes said of her son prior to Goodwin’s sentencing. “I’ll never get to have a mother-son dance at his wedding.”
Lesley-Barnes, who was a well-liked and respected member of the Brigham and Women’s community, encountered Goodwin Aug. 15, 2012, on a Route 23 MBTA bus, prosecutors said. As Lesley-Barnes left the bus near Dudley Station, Goodwin followed him, repeatedly stabbed him, and fled to a friend’s house. Lesley-Barnes later died at Boston Medical Center.
Authorities were able to identify Goodwin using fingerprints recovered from a pair of sunglasses left at the crime scene and MBTA camera surveillance footage.
Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence, though Goodwin will be eligible for parole after 20 years.
Goodwin’s defense argued that he wasn’t criminally responsible for Lesley-Barnes’ murder due to mental illness.
According to the Boston Globe, Goodwin has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and killed Lesley-Barnes after hearing to voices in his head:
Goodwin admitted he followed Lesley-Barnes off an MBTA bus on Aug. 15, 2012 and stabbed him repeatedly. Goodwin did not know Lesley-Barnes, 24, who was headed to work that day at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he transported patients.
Goodwin told doctors he heard voices commanding him to kill Lesley-Barnes.
Goodwin was convicted on the same day a jury found Edwin Alemany guilty of killing Amy Lord. Allemany, too, had blamed his crime on mental illness.
“Aside from the brutality of the facts and the innocence of the victims, these two cases had something else in common,” Suffolk Country District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a statement. “Both defendants showed a distinct clarity of mind during and after their crimes.”
What to read about the case:
- The Boston Herald: Judge calls murder victim ‘just what society wants in a man’ (June 10, 2015)
- The Boston Globe: Man gets life in prison for killing MBTA passenger (June 10, 2015)
- Brigham and Women’s newsletter: Article about Lesley-Barnes’s legacy and the outpouring of support to his family, who also work at the hospital. (May, 3, 2013)
- The Boston Globe: Boston police make arrest in murder of Rashad Lesley-Barnes, Brigham and Women’s employee stabbed in Roxbury (Aug. 29, 2012)
- The Boston Globe: Photos released in stabbing inquiry (Aug. 18, 2012)
Following is the Suffolk DA’s press release on Goodwin’s sentencing:
BOSTON, June 10, 2015 — The man who murdered 24-year-old Rashad Lesley-Barnes was today sentenced to life in prison, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
A Suffolk Superior Court jury on Monday convicted JAHVON GOODWIN (D.O.B. 8/26/91) of second-degree murder in Lesley-Barnes’ Aug. 15, 2012, stabbing death. Prosecutors had indicted Goodwin for first-degree murder.
At his sentencing this morning, Goodwin faced the mandatory sentence for second-degree murder of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Assistant District Attorney David Fredette recommended that parole eligibility be set at 24 years in recognition of the victim who was 24 years old at the time of his murder. Judge Richard Welch sentenced Goodwin to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years of incarceration.
During approximately a week of testimony, Fredette proved that Goodwin and Lesley-Barnes encountered one another on the Route 23 MBTA bus on the day of the murder. When the victim disembarked on Warren Street near Dudley station, the evidence showed, Goodwin followed him off the bus. Outside, Goodwin repeatedly stabbed Lesley-Barnes, inflicting multiple fatal wounds. Goodwin then fled the scene on foot to a Greenville Street apartment, where he changed clothes, the evidence showed.
Lesley-Barnes was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.
Goodwin was identified as a suspect after Boston Police criminalists recovered his fingerprints on a pair of sunglasses left at the scene. MBTA public safety cameras captured Goodwin wearing those sunglasses.
Fredette also introduced evidence and testimony to prove that Goodwin – who argued at trial that he was not criminally responsible for his violent actions – was in fact capable of conforming his actions to comply with the requirements of the law and acted with clarity of mind when he fatally stabbed Lesley-Barnes.
“While we can never bring true closure to Rashad’s family, I hope that today’s sentencing brings them a sense of peace in knowing that the person responsible for his murder has been held accountable,” Conley said. “Their strength and grace through a terrible ordeal were inspiring to all of us, and they remind us what a special young man Rashad must have been.”
Prior to imposing Goodwin’s sentence, Welch heard impact statements delivered by Lesley-Barnes’ mother and sisters.
“I’ll never get to see him be a father, because he never had children. I’ll never get to have a mother-son dance at his wedding,” Lesley-Barnes’ mother said in a tearful impact statement.
“I don’t want myself or my family to be labeled as ‘victims,’” Lesley-Barnes’ older sister told the court. “We are survivors. It takes a special type of person to survive these circumstances.”
Fredette was second-seated in the Goodwin trial by Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Leary of the DA’s Appellate Division. Timothy Munzert was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Goodwin was represented by Robert Wheeler.