SEASIDE, Ore. — A Seaside man accused of sexual assault and sodomy has had the charges against him dropped because the lead investigator on his case was killed.
The change is the latest in a string of legal repercussions following the death of Seaside Police Sgt. Jason Goodding, The Daily Astorian reported.
Goodding was shot to death as he was serving a felony arrest warrant the night of Feb. 5. The 55-year-old suspect, who was shot by another officer, also died.
If someone is unavailable to appear in court, their testimony and reports become hearsay, which cannot be used in court, Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Brown said. In the sodomy case, Goodding’s death renders most of the investigation unusable.
“It’s a tragic result because of a tragedy that happened,” Brown said.
Brown said his office has been working to successfully prosecute cases where Goodding was the lead or only detective despite the challenges his death presents.
In the case of Ronald Flores, who was accused of sodomizing and sexually abusing a young girl, it meant the prosecution was able to get a harassment conviction, but the more serious counts of sex abuse and sodomy were dismissed.
Flores pleaded no contest to the harassment charge and Thursday was sentenced to one year in jail. With credit for time served, he was released.
Brown said the harassment conviction was not the result he or the victim wanted, but without Goodding’s testimony or any physical evidence it is the best possible outcome.