Goff Sentencing Begins Friday Morning - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

5/06/05

Goff Sentencing Begins Friday Morning

Thursday night, a George County jury found Joseph Goff guilty of capital murder in the death of 29-year-old Brandy Yates.

After three days of testimony detailing the brutal murder and mutilation of Brandy Yates, jurors took only an hour to convict Goff of the crime.

Just after six o clock Thursday evening, Carolyn Stewart heard the words she's wanted to hear since the day her daughter was killed.

"We the jury find the defendent Joseph Bishop Goff guilty of capital murder."

As the verdict was read, Stewart and her family fought back tears. Later she said knowing her daughter's killer is behind bars will make things easier.

"It will help give us some closure and it will help put Brandy at peace. I think Brandy needs closure too," the victim's mother Carolyn Stewart said.

This has been a tough week for Stewart and her family. For the last three days, they've listened as prosecutors recounted the details of Brandy Yates' death. Stewart hopes the prosecution's closing arguments will be the last time.

"It's been horrible. I mean there's some pretty gruesome details that came out that I didn't know about. It's been bad. It's been one of the hardest things I've had to do, to sit that close to the man that I know in my heart did this to her."

Goff, acting as his attorney in the case, used his closing argument to point the blame to the victim's husband. But Distirct Attorney Tony Lawrence says the overwhelming evidence against Goff led jurors to a quick decision.

"I know it's been hard for the family. It's a very traumatic trial because of the injuries their family member suffered. So I think it's important the people, the people in the jury, pick the appropriate punishment," Lawrence said.

Stewart hopes they choose the ultimate punishment.

"I think he should be put to death. I think he should die for what he did to her."

Sentencing is set for Friday morning at nine and the death penalty is an option in the case. A unanimous vote from jury members is required to sentence Joseph Goff to death.

by Josh Ridgdell

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