NC Appeals Court hears arguments in Goode case

George Goode (Image courtesy North Carolina Department Of Correction)

March 8, 2011 4:32:48 AM PST
North Carolina's Court of Appeals heard the appeal Monday of a man serving consecutive life terms for the murders of a Johnston County couple.

George Goode, 41, was originally sentenced to death for the 1992 killings of Leon and Margaret Batten. The couple who owned the mobile home park where Goode lived were beaten and stabbed.

A federal judge threw out the death Goode's sentence in 2009 citing ineffective attorneys.

A judge previously reprimanded State Bureau of Investigation Agent Duane Deaver for misleading testimony at Goode's trial because he led the 1993 jury to believe that he found blood, when he had only conducted a preliminary test that indicated the possibility it was present. Deaver has also been cited in an SBI report for mishandling blood evidence in other several cases, and officials reviewing the crime lab found dozens of other cases with problems.

Goode has insisted that he was there when the Battens were killed but did not participate. He was convicted along with his brother and another man.

Deaver's testimony at an innocence hearing last year triggered fresh scrutiny of the SBI lab's policies and procedures. Deaver was also the agent who handled evidence in the case of Greg Taylor, who was exonerated last year after spending years behind bars for murder.

At Monday's appeal hearing, Goode's lawyer argued that he should be sentenced to concurrent life terms instead of consecutive terms - meaning he could serve both at the same time - making him potentially eligible for an earlier parole date.

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