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Murder trial to start in April

POSTED: April 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Jury selection for the trial of one of two men who were accused of murder in a January 2007 case is set to begin in April, according to records in the Liberty County Clerk of Court's Office.
Eddie Kodnell Goodwin will go on trial for the death of Deterell Esque Jackson. A second defendant, Rajiv Robert Laurent, has apparently been cooperating with the prosecution and will testify against Goodwin.
Jackson was 19 when he was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in front of lot 68 at the Alston Ridge MHP in Hinesville. His body was discovered by Hinesville PD officers who responded to a call of shots fired in the area on Jan. 16, 2007, around 6 p.m.
Jackson, who was on break from Savannah Technical College where he was studying to become a barber, was reportedly found in possession of an automatic weapon according to an officer who checked him for identification.
According to witnesses, two men wearing white shirts were seen fleeing the area. During the initial investigation HPD Det. Maj. Thomas Cribbs told the Courier he believed the young man's death was due to a confrontation that led to "some gun play."
In September a grand jury indicted Goodwin and Laurent each with one count murder.
In addition to that charge Goodwin faces one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and one count of aggravated assault.
In addition to the murder charge, Laurent faced one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, criminal use of an article with an altered ID mark, one count of theft by receiving stolen property, three counts of aggravated assault and one count of carrying a concealed weapon.
In January 2007, Laurent was out on $4,667 bail from an incident in 2005 when he allegedly struck two police officers and reportedly shattered the rear window out of a police cruiser.
After the more recent arrest bond was denied and his original bond revoked.
According to records, he originally pled not guilty on Dec. 10 to murder. But Laurent was back in court on March 17 and pled guilty.
In the plea agreement Laurent will be not be prosecuted for murder and one of the aggravated assault charges. He pled guilty to all other counts, including all charges from the 2005 incident.
He is likely to serve a maximum of five years. As a special condition of his plea agreement he is set to testify against Goodwin and is to cooperate at trial, help HPD with the investigation and help to locate witnesses.
Jury selection is tentatively scheduled for April 15 with trial to start the next day.
 

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