A piano teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student shot and killed himself outside of court just before he was to hear the jury’s verdict on Friday.
James Goodwin, a 75-year-old Atkinson, New Hampshire, piano instructor, went on trial this week to face six charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault. The alleged victim was a student of Goodwin's, now 24 years old, who said he only just came forward about the assault 2013 because he was “embarrassed.”
While in the parking lot of the courthouse on Friday around 11 a.m., Goodwin shot himself in the chest. Jury deliberations were taking place inside.
“I'm not sure exactly what time it happened, because we couldn't hear much down there when the ambulance came. However, one of the guys went outside and saw the person on the ground, and he didn't look like he was alive,” court employee Chris Neville said.
Later in the day, the jury was unable to reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared. Goodwin had pleaded not guilty to the accusations.
Rockingham County Sherrif’s Office Sgt. Chris Bashaw said he’d never seen anything like this before.
“Not in my time here. I don't know offhand of any other incidents on the ground or within the walls of the courthouse in recent history,” Bashaw told reporters.
Goodwin’s neighbor, Bob Chabot, said he’d heard nothing of any sexual abuse until this week when he saw the trial on local news.
“This is next door,” Chabot said. “It's right next door. Things like that don't happen, at least around here.”