On Wednesday, February 15, WSAV News reported that Eric Brian Golden, the 35–year-old Southside Assembly of God youth pastor who killed his wife, was formally indicted on several charges in Chatham County, Georgia (in Savannah). According to the Chatham County Courhouse website, the case was filed on the 15th, and the next event will be a conference hearing on April 20. Hon. Perry Brannen, Jr., is the judge, and Golden is being defended by attorney John P. Sugrue.
I don’t know what is typically accomplished at a conference hearing in Georgia criminal courts, but from what I’ve read about other kinds of conference hearings, it will probably provide an opportunity for the court to do some quick work and avoid a trial and also review and litigate possible appeal issues such as how the arrest and confession were handled, and so fort. Since Brian Golden has confessed, unless his confession is recanted or unless there is some critical need to spend taxpayer’s money for a court case, I suspect there may not be one. However, as you can see, Brian has an attorney now (and he didn’t when he made his initial confession), so, who knows?
The case is important though to attract the attention of the judge assigned to the case. Savannah native son, Judge Brannen, is actually the Chief Judge of the Eastern Judicial Circuit—who is taking time away from his administrative and oversight duties to hear this case. Brannen’s decision to judge this trial does not bode well for Golden: Judge Brannen, a devout Episcopalian, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service. Judge Brannen served in the Army Security Agency (signals intelligence), attaining the the rank of captain. I can’t imagine a sextegenarian, Anglican, ex-Army judge will go easy on a fellow ex-Army, tongues-talking, neck-breaker.
Note, I’m not making an attempt at humor here. Brannen’s a serious judge. Back in November, 2004, Brannen sentenced arson Stuart Vincent Smith to 20 years in prison for attempting to burn down the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah. Brannen declared this was “an offense to everyone who lives in this community.” And when a defense psychologist testified that Smith’s vandalism was a “cry for help from 10 years of alcohol dependence and depression stemming from a troubled childhood,” Brannen’s reaction compared Smith’s vandalism to hate-crime and terrorism. And he dismissed the expert testimony: “My assessment is the sum total of all (her) testimony amounts to nothing.” That, too, was a case where the defendant admitted guilt to the police before the trial ever began.
Smith didn’t get off easy despite his turbulent past. It will be no easier for Golden either.
Actually, I’m pleased that Brannen is hearing this case. Due to his deep involvement in his church, his 42–year marriage, and his meritorious military service, Brannen brings to this case exactly the sentiment and sensitivity it needs to get a fair hearing and a just sentencing.
Southside A/G has updated their staff page in memory of DeeDee Golden:
Her beauty came form her inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:4
She has left an unfading and unforgotten mark on our lives. Her love as a sister in Christ, as a devoted mother, as faithful leader of youth and women, and as a precious friend will be cherished through out our time on this earth. The quick smile and easy laugh fill our memories, and the sweet knowledge that she is dancing with the angels consoles our grief. We are comforted by the assurance she is with the one she asked to be her Savior and Lord. Her testimony will continue to be that she touched our lives with the love of God.
DeeDee we will miss you until that day when we are reunited.
This whole thing still saddens me.
[tags]BlogRodent, Assemblies-of-God, Assembly-of-God, youth-pastor, murder, strangulation, ministerial-credentials, Assemblies-of-God-youth-pastor, Pentecostal-youth-pastor, Southside-Assembly-of-God, Eric-Brian-Golden, Brian-Golden, DeeDee-Golden, Deadra-Golden, Fort-Stewart, Georgia, Chatham-County, confession, Stone-Lake, Savannah, Army, Army-veteran, crime, violent-crime, domestic-abuse, manslaughter, Chatham-County, Perry-Brannen, Jr., John-P.-Sugrue[/tags]