Godejohn Trial Analysis: Importance of Proving Deliberate Action

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo — The 1st degree murder trial of Nicholas Godejohn will continue today at the Greene County courthouse. Godejohn is accused of killing Claudine “Dee Dee” Blanchard on July 10, 2015 with Dee Dee’s daughter, Gypsie. 

Criminal defense attorney Adam Woody, who is not associated with the case, will be joining us on KOLR10 for his analysis of the trial and for insight on what we can expect moving forward.

Question: We heard opening the State’s opening statement yesterday, where Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Nate Chapman laid out an extensive timeline . He claimed that Godejohn had numerous opportunities to deliberate the murder.

Godejohn’s defense attorney, Andrew Mead, claimed that his client was guilty of murder, but that his autism and diminished mental capacity prohibited him from deliberating on the murder.

Adam Woody: “There is a huge distinction here about whether or not something is premeditated. The question here is whether this was a premeditated homicide. The defense is trying to create doubt that this was deliberated.”

Question: 1st degree murder revolves around the fact that the suspect had time for cool reflection or deliberation. If you can prove that there was either of those, you can then ask for lesser sentences.

Adam Woody: “These are called lesser included sentences. If convicted on 1st degree murder, you are sentenced to life in prison without parole. However if you can throw out deliberation, you are now down to 2nd degree murder which can be paroled after 20-25 years. You could even try to get down to manslaughter, which is a Class B felony, for a 5-15 year sentence. The defense is just trying to chip away to get one of those lesser included offenses.”

Question: The State is expected to wrap up their argument in the next day or so, and then it will be the defenses turn. We know from the opening statements that the defense plans to say that Godejohn is on the Autism spectrum, or perhaps has Asperger syndrome. How difficult will that be to prove?

Adam Woody: It won’t be that hard to prove that Godejohn has been diagnosed to be on the spectrum. The difficulty will be to establish what affect that had on Godejohn’s mental state at the time of the murder. Perhaps they are going for an involuntary manslaughter here, where the defense says that he acted on ‘sudden passion’ when he found out all that Gypsie had been through.”

Question: It’s possible that Gypsie Blanchard could take the stand in this case for her testimony. What could the defense get out of her testimony?

Adam Woody: “This is a huge wild card. I don’t know if the defense is really planning to call her to the stand, or if they are just trying to keep the prosecution on their toes. At this point, I don’t know if Gypsie is willing to help Nicholas Godejohn. So to put someone on the stand that may or may not want to help your client is a dangerous game to play.”

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