Crime

Lawyer: DNA will clear Meadow Springs beating suspect

RICHLAND — The attorney for a man accused of breaking into a Richland woman's apartment and beating her with a metal bar said Friday that his client is innocent and he has scientific evidence to prove it.

"At this point, we believe that Karl Goering is being accused of a crime that he did not commit and now we have scientific evidence of that," lawyer Sal Mendoza Jr. told a judge.

Goering, 36, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree assault with sexual motivation.

Prosecutors allege that at 4:45 a.m. Dec. 5, Goering got into a home at The Villas at Meadow Springs in Richland and hit a woman several times. The woman, who was awake, didn't know the suspect or how he entered her apartment, court documents said.

The victim told police that she tried to resist but he continued to beat her and tried to sexually assault her.

He eventually left after threatening to kill her if she identified him, documents said.

The victim had extensive injuries around her head and face and suffered a broken right arm and left wrist. She was hospitalized in Richland and Spokane.

The woman is not named under a Herald policy not to identify people who report being sexually assaulted.

Goering was reportedly selected as the alleged attacker after the woman reviewed photos of 22 possible suspects and later picked him out of an in-person lineup.

On Friday, Mendoza said that a week ago he received the test results on a "key piece of evidence." A bloody piece of rubber glove found at the scene was analyzed at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, and results showed the DNA belongs to someone other than his client, he said.

Tests on other items also didn't match Goering or the victim, Mendoza told the court.

He said he discussed the evidence with prosecutors and, "they nonetheless want to proceed to trial on this."

Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor said he would not "address the substance of my colleague's comments" since there were a couple of media representatives in the courtroom. It is an issue to be dealt with at trial, he added.

"I will say that the DNA evidence is something that we don't view as crucial. The amount of it, where it was located, is not going to change our opinion," Bloor said. "From this point forward, I don't know if the media is going to try to interview either of us. I am not going to grant any media interviews on the substance of the change."

Bloor said even though there had been no mention of a change-of-venue motion by the defense, he didn't want to discuss case details in the public because the potential jury pool "might be interested in this story."

Mendoza responded that he may ask to move the trial out of Benton County depending on what happens during jury selection.

The crime has been well covered in the media and information has been reported that ended up being inaccurate, Mendoza said. He referred to a pair of pants with apparent blood stains that court documents said were taken from Goering's apartment but, once tested at the crime lab, reportedly ended up not being blood.

Mendoza asked to delay the trial to June 28 in light of the DNA results. He said he needs more time to review reports and interview about 20 prosecution witnesses, in addition to meeting with several defense experts.

Judge Craig Matheson granted the request to move the trial date, along with Mendoza's motion for a second attorney on the case.

Mendoza said his client "is looking at a substantial amount of time" and he would like "a level playing field" in the difficult case since Bloor will have a second deputy prosecutor at trial.

"I think the complexity of it justifies it," Matheson agreed.

The bicounty Office of Public Defense will now assign another attorney to work with Mendoza.

w Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com

  Comments