A jury has convicted Jon David Goldberg of second-degree murder for the shooting death of Fortuna resident Timothy Smith, who was having an affair with Goldberg’s wife.
Goldberg also was convicted of personal use of a firearm in the September 2016 killing, which
could will add 25 years to the 15-to-life murder conviction.
Goldberg didn’t visibly react to the verdict. But his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo, looked stricken. The courtroom was packed with Smith’s family members and friends, along with many attorneys and law enforcement officers. Goldberg’s parents, Michael and Janet Goldberg, also were in the courtroom.
Some of Smith’s supporters broke into tears when Goldberg was convicted of murder. Jurors also could have chosen manslaughter or acquittal.
Jurors refused to comment afterward, with the jury foreman saying simply “Not a good time.”
Smith’s wife Jessica Springer and her son were there, but a Smith family member warned this reporter “Don’t approach them.”
Visiting Judge Graham Cribbs told the courtroom audience he was notified about 11:30 a.m. that the jury had made a decision. He decided to wait until this afternoon to read the verdicts.
Goldberg, 37, was acquitted of both charges relating to his wife, Rachel Goldberg. The prosecution had alleged that Goldberg, earlier on the day he killed Smith, brandished a firearm at his wife and fired shots around her.
In finding Goldberg not guilty of first-degree murder, jurors apparently decided the killing was not “willful, premeditated and deliberate.”
On Sept. 26, 2016, Goldberg drove from his home outside Bridgeville and shot Smith, a popular volunteer fire captain, five times. Smith was shot once at close range in the chest, then four more times on his lower right side.
Jurors obviously didn’t believe Goldberg’s claim that he fired at Smith only after Smith reached for a gun in his truck, then lunged at Goldberg and grabbed the hand holding the revolver. Goldberg said the first shot was accidental, and he continued to fire until Smith released his wrist.
The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal, said evidence was clear that the later shots were fired while Smith was on the ground.
Jurors deliberated briefly on Tuesday afternoon, then all day Wednesday and for a couple of hours this morning. On Wednesday they asked for read-backs of a portion of Goldberg’s testimony and the full testimony of Hydesville resident Timothy Roscoe. Roscoe testified he saw Goldberg jump out of his van and “sprint” toward Smith’s house, which contradicted Goldberg’s story.
Goldberg said he wasn’t expecting to find Smith home and just went there to speak with Smith’s wife about the affair between their respective spouses. When he encountered Smith, Goldberg said, he was expecting an apology. Instead, he claimed, Smith gave him “the once-over” and smirked at him.
Goldberg’s sentencing is scheduled for April 27. Cribbs will no longer be in Humboldt County then, but he told attorneys he would be glad to come back for a day if he is wanted. Goldberg has the option of filing a waiver saying he is willing to be sentenced by another judge.
Cribbs seemed to be the only person in the mood to talk today. While Goldberg, attorneys and the courtroom audience waited on pins and needles for the verdict, the judge chatted at length about his 28-year career and his admiration of Humboldt’s weather and Victorian homes. He thanked the jury, attorneys, courtroom staff and courthouse employees for their hard work and dedication.
- 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
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY 11, Part 1: Murder Suspect Takes the Stand, Tearfully Recounts Learning of His Wife’s Affair With Victim
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, DAY 11: Accident, Self-Defense or Murder? Jon Goldberg Testifies About the Moment He Shot Tim Smith
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, FINAL DAY: Murder Suspect Wraps Up Emotional Testimony; Jury to Deliberate Monday
- Closing Arguments Underway in Goldberg Murder Trial
- GOLDBERG TRIAL, CLOSING ARGUMENTS: ‘Not Guilty’ the Only Reasonable Verdict, Says Defense Attorney in Passionate Appeal to Jury
- GOLDBERG CLOSING ARGUMENTS: Prosecution Wraps Up By Ridiculing Defense’s Case; Accused Murderer’s Fate in Hands of Jury
- Judge Scolds Goldberg Trial Jurors for Talking About the Case Outside of the Jury Room
- Jury in Goldberg Murder Trial Asks For Read-Back of Key Testimony