Bath salts might have played role in Stoddard County shooting death

Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Charles Goforth

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- The synthetic drugs knows as bath salts could have played a role in a Stoddard County man killing his own son, according to testimony at a court hearing Monday.

Charles Goforth, accused of the May 5, murder of his son, Patrick Goforth, was in court for a preliminary hearing on Monday, where witnesses testified that Charles Goforth was under the influence of bath salts on the night of the fatal incident..

Josh Goforth, another son of Charles Goforth, testified that his father had asked him and Patrick "not to stay there for awhile because he didn't want to cause any harm to me or Patrick."

He also testified that a year or two earlier his father had pointed a shotgun at him.

When the Goforth sons returned to the home several months after the shotgun incident, things were good for a little while.

"He started saying people were at the property cooking meth and wandering around," Josh Goforth testified.

Late on the evening of May 4, Josh and Patrick Goforth joined a new friend, Anthony Walley of Matthews, Mo., to play guitar. The trio later went to Denny's to eat and then to Walmart to buy bait and equipment for a late night fishing trip on the floodway in their backyard near Catron, Mo.

The house is located on County Road 791 in extreme southeastern Stoddard County.

Josh Goforth went on to testify that the elder Goforth had begun using bath salts, possibly causing hallucinations. He said the use of bath salts had gone on for four to six months and the delusions had been frequent during the period.

"He would run around the house asking 'Where are they at?,'" Josh Goforth said, noting that his father had started carrying a gun and once or twice fired at the imaginary people.

Josh Goforth testified that when the father entered the home that night after the fishing trip, while Patrick Goforth was in the house, he heard Charles Goforth scream, "What the [expletive] are you doing in the dark?"

He said that he heard nothing for five or six minutes followed by a gunshot.

"As soon as I heard the gun shot I ran to make sure my brother was OK," he testified. "Then I heard Charles say, 'Tracy, I shot Patrick.'"

Josh Goforth refused to testify in regard to his mother, Tracy Goforth. "I went in, found my brother's body, picked him up and ran," he said.

Josh Goforth and Walley carried Patrick's body to their vehicle and left for Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston.

As they fled the scene to get the brother to a hospital, Josh Goforth said he heard two or three more gun shots.

Dr. Russell Deidiker, the medical examiner from Farmington, Mo., who performed the autopsy on Patrick Goforth, stated that he was shot through the left ear and the bullet exited the right side of his head.

Deidiker stated he believed the muzzle of the gun to have been less than two inches from Patrick Goforth's head at the time of the shooting. He testified Patrick Goforth had an abrasion above his nose and small ones on his shoulder and left arm, but nothing that could be termed as a classical "defense wounds." He said it was possible, but he could not say for certain.

Emily Smelser of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab in Cape Girardeau testified that Charles Goforth's blood and urine tested positive for marijuana and bath salts.

Diana Higgins, also of the MSHP Crime Lab in Cape Girardeau, testified that she had tested a sample of blood found on Charles Goforth's hand. She said they were able to determine that the blood did not belong to the father, but possibly did belong to the son.

Following the preliminary hearing, Charles Goforth's attorney Steve Wilson asked that his client's bond be reduced to $100,000, with limitations.

Wilson argued that he was not a flight risk and, before this charge, had no criminal history aside from a 1990 DWI in Arkansas.

Judge Joe Z. Satterfield agreed to take the motion under advisement and issue a ruling within 72 hours.

Goforth is scheduled to appear before Judge Stephen Sharp on Oct. 17.

Pertinent address:

Bloomfield, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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