REGINA - Catlin Wade Goodwill is officially a free man after being found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of three-month old Keenan Julius Spencer on Oct. 14, 2017.
That judgment came on the morning of March 16 in Court of King’s Bench Court as Justice Keith Kilback read his decision. Keenan was the son of Goodwill and Jodeci Spencer, and was described by his mother as a “quiet, easy, calm, content baby.”
As Justice Kilback said the words “not guilty,” several family members in the gallery and Goodwill himself burst into tears. Handcuffed and seated in the prisoner’s box, he held his head in his hands and openly wept.
In his decision, Justice Kilback recounted testimony that described events during the day in question, and Goodwill’s horrible discovery that Keenan was not breathing that evening. Spencer called 911, and EMS arrived six minutes later. They confirmed Keenan was not breathing and had no pulse. His body was still warm, but extremities were cool. The baby was rushed to General Hospital, but even their efforts couldn’t bring Keenan back.
According to expert witnesses Dr. Andreea Nistor - a forensic pathologist - and neuropathologist Dr. David Ramsey (both called by the Crown), bruising was found on the back of Keenan’s head and bleeding inside his skull. The overall question was how those injuries were incurred - by Goodwill’s hand or an unintentional consequence during resuscitation efforts.
Dr. Roland Auer, a witness called by the defence, pointed to pneumonia as a possibility, with the injuries discovered on Keenan potentially caused during efforts to revive the baby.
With evidence largely circumstantial, Justice Kilback stressed in his decision that the unlawful act of manslaughter needs to be proven without a reasonable doubt - something that could not be done in this matter.
Crown prosecutor Chris White met with reporters briefly after the decision was rendered, noting that an appeal has not been considered yet; that the Crown would need to review the decision before seeking such action.
Defence attorney Bruce Campbell shared his thoughts with SASKTODAY.ca, noting it has been a tough five years.
“We’re very relieved with what had just happened,” he said. “It was emotional for so many reasons.”
Goodwill and his mother, Nadine Goodwill, chose not to speak with media, but shared a long embrace after exiting the courthouse. The now free man could be heard cheering exuberantly as the couple entered a vehicle and drove away.
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