LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — A former Louisville detective who helped falsify the arrest warrant that led to the deadly police raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy.
Federal investigators said Kelly Goodlett added a false line to the warrant and later colluded with another detective to create a cover when Taylor’s death by police on March 13, 2020, began to receive national attention.
Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was shot dead by officers who kicked in her door while executing a search warrant. Taylor’s friend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, hitting Taylor multiple times.
Goodlett, 35, appeared in a federal courtroom in Louisville on Tuesday afternoon and admitted that he conspired with another Louisville police officer to forge the warrant. Goodlett briefly answered some questions from Federal Judge Rebecca Jennings Grady.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was in court on Tuesday but did not speak after the proceedings.
Three former agents in Louisville were indicted earlier this month on criminal civil rights charges by a federal grand jury. Goodlett was not charged, but charged in a federal inquiry, which likely means the former detective is collaborating with investigators.
Goodlett will be sentenced on November 22. Grady said there may be “extenuating circumstances” that could prompt the court to postpone the sentencing date. A portion of the plea hearing was also sealed and was not discussed in open court on Tuesday. She faces up to five years in prison for conviction.
She resigned from the department on August 5, a day after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new federal charges in the Taylor case.
Former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany were charged with charges related to the search warrant used to search Taylor’s home. A third former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with using excessive force when he retreated to Taylor’s door, turned a corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment. He was acquitted by a jury of similar charges earlier this year. Jaynes, Meany and Hankison have all been fired.
The three former officers face a maximum life sentence if convicted of civil rights.
Federal prosecutors said in court files that Jaynes, who drafted the Taylor warrant, alleged days before the warrant was issued against Goodlett that he “verified” from a postal inspector that a suspected drug dealer was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment. But Goodlett knew this wasn’t true and told Jaynes that the arrest warrant didn’t yet contain enough information linking Taylor to criminal activity, prosecutors said. She added a paragraph stating that the suspected drug dealer, Jamarcus Glover, used Taylor’s apartment as his current address, according to court records.
Two months later, when the Taylor shooting made national headlines, the postal inspector told a media outlet that he had failed to verify that packages for Glover were going to Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes and Goodlett then met in Jaynes’ garage to “get on the same page” before Jaynes spoke to investigators about the Taylor warrant, court records said.
They decided to send Sgt. John Mattingly, who is identified in the court records as JM, told them Glover received packages at Taylor’s home, according to prosecutors. Mattingly was shot in the leg during the raid on Taylor’s apartment.
Meany, who had signed the Taylor warrant and was still a Louisville police sergeant when indicted on Aug. 4, was fired Friday by Louisville Police Chief Erika Shields.
Shields said in a statement that Meany has not yet had his case heard by a jury, but “he faces multiple federal charges following a lengthy DOJ investigation” and should “not expect to continue his employment under such circumstances.”
Hankison was the only indicted officer on the scene the night of the murder.
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