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Man representing himself in murder trial cross-examines his mother

Bryan Goggins charged in 2016 shooting death of teenage girl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thursday was a bizarre day in Duval County court for the man accused of killing a teenage girl and shooting three adults three years ago in Brentwood.

A judge asked Bryan Goggins, who is charged in the 2016 shooting death of 14-year-old Tamia Sanders, numerous times if he wanted to continue to represent himself in his murder trial and advised him against representing himself.

Every time the courtroom would go into or come back from a break, the judge would ask Goggins if he wanted to be reappointed an attorney. Goggins, 27, said no every time. That meant he was tasked Thursday with cross-examining his own mother, Lawanda Mack, who was present at the time of the shooting. 

The state first questioned Mack. She described the moments leading up to the shooting. She said she got into a heated argument with a man. She said her two sons, Goggins and his younger brother, then showed up and she heard shots fired.

The day after the shooting, she talked with Goggins on the phone in front of police. She said Goggins, whom she calls "Ezell," told her on the phone that nobody was going to disrespect his mother. 

Prosecutor: "Do you remember talking to him about the shooting itself?
Mack: "Yes."
Prosecutor: "Do you remember crying and saying 'Bryan,' or excuse me, 'Ezell, you shot someone's child?'"
Mack: "Yes." 
Prosecutor: "Do you remember him responding that he didn't know who it was that was in front of him?"
Mack: "Yes."

Prosecutor: "Do you remember during your interview with (the detective) twice, two different times, that he had told you that he shot cause no one was going to disrespect you?"
Mack: "I don't remember that."
Prosecutor: "But he did tell you he shot because no one was gonna disrespect you?"
Mack: "Yes."

Goggins then cross-examined his mother. He focused on Mack saying she felt pressured by the detective at the time of the controlled phone call. 

The jury was selected Monday for the trial and opening statements were presented Tuesday. On Wednesday, Goggins cross-examined two women who he is accused of shooting, including Sanders' mother.

The detective who questioned Mack the day after the shooting will take the stand Friday. Court will resume at 10:30 a.m.


About the Authors:

Maggie Lorenz

Multi-media journalist