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March 4, 2022

Love & Death | Cup of Joe

Love & Death | Cup of Joe

Joseph D. Nohavicka

We…Are…Live!  Fifth case study for 2022 

“There's always some stupid bullsh*t reason to kill your girlfriend. That's the beauty of it all! Simplicity!” 

Randy, Scream 1996 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven

“911 operator, what is your emergency?”

“Uh, yeah, uh…my girlfriend…something happened…she ain’t breathing, and…uh…I don’t know what to do.”

Love and Death

Opening Statements

PROSECUTOR: Watertown EMTs arrived at 217 S. Pleasant St. at about 9:51 p.m. Wednesday in response to a call of an unresponsive female. There they found Barbara, 39 years old, suffering from blunt force trauma injuries. Barbara was treated at the scene and taken to Samaritan Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

People of the jury, the evidence will show that the defendant, Greg Noonan, her boyfriend was the one responsible for her demise.

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Greg did not kill his girlfriend. Greg is going to testify in this case.  And he doesn’t have to.  It is his constitutional right to not say a word in this case. But he will. He wants you, people of the jury, to hear the truth.  You will hear Greg testify about what happened on that terrible night. And you will decide his fate.  Listen and decide. 


Testimony

POLICE OFFICER: We received a report that a woman had arrived at Good Samaritan DOA. The next day, which was a Thursday, we arrested Greg Noonan, the deceased woman’s boyfriend who lived in the home where the woman was found.  We charged him with second-degree murder for intentionally causing the woman's death. 

PROSECUTOR: Why did you go Greg’s home in the first place?

POLICE OFFICER: We had been to that address for numerous occasions for domestics between the victim and Mr. Noonan.  

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Isn’t it true, officer, it was not Greg who was responsible for those prior instances of violence? And that the victim was accused of strangling Greg Noonan by placing him in a head lock, causing him to lose consciousness? And then sprayed his shirt with flammable perfume, set it on fire and punched him in the face?

POLICE OFFICER: I couldn’t tell you.  He was a suspect because he was the last person to have seen the victim alive.

MEDICAL EXAMINER: The victim sustained hemorrhages on her skull caused by separate blows to the head or by pounding her head against a hard surface. 

The victim also sustained hemorrhages in her larynx and around her trachea, which could have resulted only from external compression. The victim also sustained fatal damage to her liver because of blunt force trauma to her abdomen.

PROSECUTOR: Fatal damage to her liver?

MEDICAL EXAMINER: Barbara died from blood loss as the result of an abdominal blow that nearly cut her liver in two.

WITNESS (an acquaintance): Greg told me that he had previously punched the Barbara in the stomach because doing so does not leave marks.

DEFENSE COUNSEL:  Objection!

JUDGE: Overruled!

GREG NOONAN: I did not murder Barbara. We were having intimate relations when she had a seizure. I called 911!  I did! Me!  


The Verdict

The jury deliberated for 4 hours:  

“WE THE JURY FIND THE DEFENDANT….

GUILTY, OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER…


Pre-Sentencing Statements

BARBARA’S BROTHER, DAVID: Your Honor, I ask that you impose the maximum sentence for Greg for taking away something that can’t be replaced. My sister’s five children, Your Honor, they still grieve every day, and will have to carry the burden of not having a mother to love and confide in. Barb will never get to see them all grow up, marry and have children of their own.

GREG, THE CONVICTED BOYFRIEND: Your Honor, my heart goes out to Barb’s family and friends.   I am sorry for their loss.


The Sentence

JUDGE:  Greg Noonan, you never expressed any remorse or responsibility over what happened. The Court sentences you to 25 years to life in prison for the August murder of your girlfriend, Barbara L. Curry Getman, age 39. It is the maximum I can give you for second-degree murder. Take the defendant away. We are adjourned.      


The Appeal – Three Issues

Greg’s lawyers argued that was not legally sufficient to establish his intent to kill the victim.

They also argued that the trial judge abused her discretion in permitting a witness to testify that Greg admitted that he had previously punched Barbara in the stomach because doing so does not leave marks.

Finally, Greg argued that the sentence was unduly harsh and severe.

As to the issue of intent, the appeals court stated that the fact that Barbara’s liver was nearly cut in to because of the severity of the punch, that was enough to show intent.

As to the statement made by the witness, the appeals court stated that because the statement was relevant to establish Greg’s intent and motive, it was indeed relevant, and the value of the statement as proof was greater than any possible prejudice it would cause to Greg.

Finally, the appeals court stated that Greg's sentence is not unduly harsh or severe.

THE VERDICT AND SENTENCE WERE AFFIRMED.  CASE CLOSED

Justice served?  Let us know what you think.


Read the case here.

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