Teen accused of fatally shooting Pearl-Cohn student to be tried as adult

Friday, June 28, 2013 at 1:51pm
Updated 6:59 p.m.

Eric Goodner, the 17-year-old accused of fatally shooting Johnathan Johnson in April, will be tried as an adult.

In a two and a half hour transfer hearing Friday afternoon before Juvenile Court Judge Sophia Crawford, prosecutors successfully argued that there was probable cause Goodner committed the crime and that he met every one of the criteria to be tried in adult criminal court.

Crawford heard from two witnesses — one 16 years old and one 18 years old — who described the events of the shooting that occurred around 6:40 a.m. on April 11.

One of the witnesses, a 16-year-old girl, testified that Goodner was “like family” to her and that Johnson, her neighbor, was her “best friend.” She said that Goodner, who went by the nickname “Wootie,” had called her several times on the morning of the murder. When they spoke, he asked her whether “next door” would be on the bus that morning.

Later, she testified to hearing a click sound, followed by two loud bangs while standing outside herself. She saw Goodner with the gun an “inch” away from Johnson. She identified Goodner out of a line-up for Metro Nashville Police Department detectives.

Assistant District Attorney Paul DeWitt successfully argued that Goodner’s past criminal record, along with the nature of the murder and his response to previous attempts at rehabilitation, indicated that he needed to be tried as an adult.

Goodner’s legal representation Dwight Scott didn’t present a counter-argument on the adult court assertion.

Crawford said that Goodner “left [the] court with no choice” but to forward his case to criminal court.  

She set Goodner’s bond at $1.5 million.