Murder suspect Jon David Goldberg broke down this morning on the witness stand as he described the morning he found out his wife was having an affair with his good friend Timothy Smith.
Goldberg said he got the first inkling that something was off when he looked at his wife’s cellphone about 11 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2016, and saw a “selfie” of her he’d never seen before. Then he saw a smiling face-shot of Smith.
Rachel Goldberg was sleeping on the couch after a long day of fishing, and he woke her to ask about the selfies.
“Don’t worry about it,” Rachel told him. “Let’s go to bed. We’ll talk about it in the morning.”
Goldberg woke the next morning about 5:30 and his wife was already up.
“She looked at me and said, ‘I guess I better tell you something.’ She told me she and Tim had been sending some pictures to each other.”
When he asked what kind of pictures, Rachel said she had sent Smith “a picture of her chest, her bare chest, and a picture of her ass on the phone.”
Goldberg, under questioning by Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo, said he was stunned and began to cry. He began questioning his wife about how involved she was with Smith.
Then, Goldberg said, Rachel received a text from Smith’s wife Jessica Springer, who had been looking for fishing-trip photos on her husband’s cellphone. Springer found the images Smith and Rachel had been sending.
The text from Springer demanded that Rachel tell her husband what was going on. She also said she had kicked Tim Smith out of their house.
Then Rachel got a phone call. Goldberg said she could tell by what his wife was saying that she was talking to Smith.
Goldberg, crying, recalled how he heard his wife say “We can’t do this anymore.”
Rachel told Smith that “she’s married and she wanted to fix her marriage,” Goldberg said.
“Had you shed tears at this point?” Russo asked.
Goldberg then saw a cellphone picture of his wife in their bed, naked from the waist up.
“I knew that was my wife and I knew that was my bed,” he said.
He said he could see “kind of a silhouette” of himself in the background. He asked his wife, “”Am I lying right there next to you?”
“She said yes.”
“I was crying, crying,” Goldberg said.
He also overheard a phone conversation between Rachel and Springer, with Rachel telling Springer she was sorry, that “it would never happen again.” Both Rachel and Springer worked at Bridgeville Elementary School, and he heard Rachel tell Springer she would quit her job.
Springer was planning to come up to the Goldberg property and talk with Jon, but she changed her mind after her son talked her out of it, saying she was too upset.
By now the Goldbergs’ young son David was awake, sitting in front of the TV eating cereal and watching cartoons. Goldberg quizzed his wife what kind of pictures Smith had been sending her, asking, “Has he been sending you pictures of his dick?
First Rachel said no, then admitted it.
Rachel then called her stepmother in Tennessee, and Goldberg suspected from the conversation that the stepmother was telling Rachel to “grab the kid and come to Tennessee.”
He called his own mother, using Rachel’s phone because his was broken.
He told his mother about what he had just learned, and that he feared Rachel was going to take his child away.
“I told her I needed her to come home from Mexico and hire an attorney to help me fight for my son,” he recalled.
He said he continued to be in shock and disbelief. Rachel was crying, telling him how sorry she was.
He began thinking about the times he’d seen his wife and Smith together, and whether there was any indication of something going on. Each time Rachel admitted something new, Goldberg went into the kitchen and took a shot of her Captain Morgan rum.
When Rachel admitted she had kissed Smith, he asked her if she realized “how intimate a kiss was.”
“He chewed tobacco,” Goldberg said. “I asked her how she could kiss that dirty mouth.”
She initially denied having sex with Smith.
“Did you believe her?” Russo asked.
“I wanted to,” Goldberg said, his voice cracking. He said he walked out to the garden to get away from Rachel, and she followed him. She admitted she’d slept with Smith one time.
“I was crushed, broken-hearted, I couldn’t believe it. She was crying, telling me how sorry she was.”
He said he didn’t know whether to believe that Rachel and Smith had been together just once.
“She kind of got down on her knees and was begging me to forgive her,” Goldberg testified. “I just told her how much this was going to affect our lives .”
A few hours after that conversation, Goldberg drove to Fortuna and allegedly shot Smith five times outside his home on Rohnerville Road.
Testimony was expected to resume this afternoon, with Russo continuing his direct examination of Goldberg. It’s uncertain whether Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal will get to his cross-examination.
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY ONE: Ruthless Revenge Killing or Unfortunate Tragedy? Murder Trial Underway for Man Accused of Murdering Wife’s Boyfriend in Fortuna
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY TWO: Witness Testifies That Accused Murderer Physically Fought With His Wife, Fired Weapon Near Her on Morning of Crime
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY THREE: Nearby Construction Workers Testify They Saw Murder Suspect Casing House Before Tim Smith Was Shot Dead
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY FOUR: Victim’s Wife Testifies She Heard Gunshots Then Ran Outside to Find Her Husband Dying on the Ground
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY FIVE, Part I: ‘I just held my mom and told her it was going to be OK,’ Victim’s Son Testifies
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY FIVE, Part II: Suspect Said He Was Going to Kill Wife’s Boyfriend, Neighbor Testifies
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY SIX: The Victim’s Son and a DA Investigator Testified Today, Along With a Man Who Was Flipped Off By Murder Suspect on the Day of the Shooting
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY SEVEN, Part I: Four of the Five of the Bullets That Struck Tim Smith Could Have Killed Him On Their Own, Medical Examiner Testifies
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY SEVEN, Part II: Friend Testifies He Drove Murder Suspect Home Day of Shooting, Told Him Cops Were Coming and to Be Nice
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY EIGHT, Part I: Expert Witness Tells Jury About Communication Between the Victim, the Suspect and Each of Their Wives on the Morning of the Shooting
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY EIGHT, Part II: Defense Witness Call Goldbergs a Bridgeville ‘Power Couple’; Attorney Seeks to Raise Doubts About Whether Victim Was Unarmed
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY NINE: Murder Suspect’s Wife Gives Tearful Testimony, Says She Had Sex, Shared Explicit Photos With Victim
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY TEN: Mother of the Accused Testifies About What He Was Like as a Boy; Psychologist Says Goldberg Told Him Shooting Was Accidental