Judge denies 'stand your ground' defense

Woman, 32, charged with murder in ex-boyfriend's stabbing death

Jennifer Goodman is denied a "stand your ground" motion.
Jennifer Goodman is denied a "stand your ground" motion.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey on Monday denied a 32-year-old woman charged with second-degree murder a motion for a "stand your ground" defense in the stabbing death of her ex-boyfriend.

Jennifer Goodman's motion would have given her immunity from the murder charge in the September 2011 killing of 33-year-old Anthony Norman.

Goodman claims she was a victim of physical abuse and feared for her life during confrontation. She said she suffered years of physical abuse at the hands of her ex, which is why she claims she retaliated.

Overcome with disappointment at the judge's decision Monday, Goodman was consoled by her family, knowing her murder case will indeed go to trial.

"Of course she's sad because she was hoping and depending that the law would have been in place for her," family spokeswoman Linda Dayson said.

According to testimony at the "stand your ground" hearing last month, Norman left the Shortreed Street home after beating Goodman during an argument.

"He had me by my hair and he just kept punching me in my face," Goodman testified last month. "I guess he kept hitting me until he got tired of hitting, and blood was everywhere. Then he left. He left. He walked out the door. He left. No, he didn't leave. He went in the room and got my phone and he got my money. And then he left."

According to the "stand your ground" petition, after the fight that night, Goodman left the house and reported the incident to family members.

"Her brother and his friend returned back to the house to retaliate, striking Norman at least six times in the face," the petition reads.

At one point, Goodman said she went outside with a knife to protect herself and her family, and when Norman turned around, the knife went into his chest. Goodman testified that Norman "ran into the knife" she was holding.

"Jennifer had a reasonable fear of imminent peril or death, which is why she chose to use deadly force," according to the petition.

Legal experts say when Norman left the scene and Goodman went looking for him, she essentially became the aggressor and provoked another altercation.

"At that point and time, when the victim had retreated from the scene, her fear, her reasonable fear of imminent injury of death, was ended at the moment and time when she was there," said attorney Gene Nichols, who's not affiliated with the case.

Nichols said "stand your ground" immunity is rare, adding that most judges would rather leave the decision up to a jury. But Goodman's family says she had no other choice than to defend herself.

"I'm really not understanding what the system is wanting," Dayson said. "Do they want them to continue to be battered by these men? I mean, especially when you have paperwork, restraining orders, and the police have been called out."

Norman was Goodman's on-again, off-again boyfriend since she was 14, and the two had a child together.

Goodman's next court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.