Godin found guilty in shooting death of librarian
Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 19:10
The 12 jurors in the first-degree murder trial of a former district librarian returned a verdict of guilty about 3:20 p.m. today.
After deliberating only 3 1/2 hours, the jury returned the verdict on the third day of the trial.
The defendant, Alan Godin, showed no reaction at the verdict, but his attorney John Convery and Northeast Lakeview College Librarian Robert Vaughn, the victim's best friend at work, lowered their heads.
Godin was arrested at the scene of the shooting, the library of Northeast Lakeview, Oct. 13, 2008, after witnesses watched him fire repeatedly at close range at Librarian Donald "Devin" Zimmerman.
Vanessa Zimmerman, who was pregnant when her husband died, began crying and about a minute later began sobbing.
Godin's former wife, Christine Crowley, dean of learning resources at Northwest Vista College, had been in court earlier on Tuesday but was not in the courtroom when the verdict was returned.
Dr. Eric Reno, president of Northeast Lakeview College, was also present, sitting next to Vaughn, behind the Zimmerman family.
Convery told reporters he was disappointed in the verdict.
"I thought we had a strong case. It was never (about) who did it."
Prosecutors declined to comment.
The punishment phase begins at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 187th District Court.
This morning, Day 3 of the trial, Judge Raymond Angelini of the 187th District Court began by reading the jury their rights.
He explained the jury could not consider previous knowledge of the case, but they should consider the evidence and decide for themselves. He notified them to fill out a verdict form and sign it.
The prosecutors, Daryl Harris and Lorina Rummel, and Godin's attorney, Convery, gave closing statements.
Harris took the jury back to Wednesday when jury selection began, saying that Rummel said the state had to prove an indictment of who, what, when, where and how the crime was committed.
He said the prosecutors proved that each element proved Godin was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
"Let me take a few moments to bring back the evidence," Harris said. "The terrors on the afternoon of Oct. 13 were cause by that man," he said as he pointed at Godin.
He said it is the jurors' duty to decide if the evidence proves murder by considering the testimonies and should be made through the juror's competence.
"You have a decision to make," he said.
As he reiterated the incidents on that day, he picked up each item he described.
Harris said Godin walked into the library, passed Robert Vaughn, fellow librarian who was an eyewitness, who said Godin had put sunglasses on.
Harris picked up the ear protection that Godin put on before shooting the gun and picked up the gun Godin used to shoot Zimmerman.
Harris recalled the experts who collected five bullets and six shells.
"That's what he went there with," Harris said of Godin on the day of the shooting.
Harris said Godin's actions were intentional, resourceful and purposeful.
"He knew at 2 in the afternoon that Devin would be there," Harris said. "He used the hearing protection so he wouldn't be distracted by screaming and he could focus on ‘get Devin Zimmerman, get Devin Zimmerman, get Devin Zimmerman.'"
Harris said there was a witness who saw recoil after the first shot. He said before he shot again, he stabilized himself, got his other hand, and shot a third, fourth, fifth time.
"Fired bullet, fired bullet, fired bullet," Harris said.
He said the experts ran gunshot residue tests and found the same residue on Godin's hands. The shells matched the shell casing to Godin's gun.
"When you hear the lack of paucity of evidence of sanity, you don't contemplate ... you mean to accomplish that end."
Harris said no one can explain what goes on in somebody's mind.
He went over the testimony of the two doctors who testified Monday.
He said Dr. Brian Scop, general forensic psychologist, was familiar with transient global amnesia.
"I believe he formed the intent and carried it out," Harris said.
He said Godin may have taken some herbal tea that created "magic" that affected his memory. "Shucks," Harris said as he snapped his fingers.
Convery followed Harris with a closing statement as he carried the box full of medications Godin was taking.
He said during jury selection, he told them this was crazy and the jury would hear the tragic events in the library.
"I told you Alan Godin did the act, but he did not commit the crime," Convery said.
He said Godin had never been in trouble in his life and obtained a gun permit 10 years ago.
"Magic?" Convery asked. "I think not."
He asked the jurors to look at the basic fact that the act was senseless and crazy.
The judge instructed the jury to look at two things — insanity and intent.
Convery said his team showed Godin suffered from transglobal amnesia and both doctors who testified said it was a severe mental defect to be considered as insanity.
He recalled the barbecue grill incident when Godin was first diagnosed with transglobal amnesia. He asked the jury to go back and realize how hard-working Godin was and that he was upset when he couldn't remember.
"We showed how serious this really is," Covery said.
He continued and said the issue becomes the reoccurrence of transglobal amnesia.
He said Dr. Michael Arambula, pharmacologist, had more experience and spent more time treating defenders in similar cases.
Convery said Godin experienced additional complications such as hepatitis C, which Arambula said affects the thought process.