not a case of whodunnit, because Jon David Goldberg admits he shot
his wife’s boyfriend, Timothy Smith, on Sept. 26, 2016.
But today, the sixth day of testimony in Goldberg’s murder trial, much was made of whether Goldberg had a gun in his hand and what kind of gun it might have been.
Smith’s younger son Douglas Smith, a 16-year-old student at Fortuna High School, recounted the day in mid-September 2016 when he and his father stopped by to visit Goldberg and his wife Rachel at their home in the Bridgeville area. A photo snapped by Rachel Goldberg shows Jon Goldberg, Douglas Smith and the Goldbergs’ young son David. Jon Goldberg wore a gun in a holster on his hip.
Douglas Smith testified, under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal, that he is familiar with guns and thought the gun was a .357-caliber revolver. It’s believed the murder weapon was a revolver because no shell casings were found near Tim Smith’s body. But under cross-examination by Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo, the boy acknowledged he had never seen Goldberg’s gun out of its holster.
Tim and Douglas Smith were on a hunting trip when they stopped by the Goldberg place. Jon Goldberg, unaware his wife was having an affair with Tim Smith, cooked dinner for the father and son and then packed up the leftovers for them to eat while hunting.
Another witness today, Hydesville resident Timothy Roscoe, was involved in a road-rage incident with Goldberg the day of the killing. Roscoe testified he was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on Rohnerville Road when a mini-van pulled up so close behind that “all I saw was the windshield.”
Roscoe said he pulled over to let the van pass, and he flipped the driver off as he sped past.
“I gave him the three-way salute, yes,” Roscoe said.
“Did you get any reaction?” Bernthal asked.
“Yes, he returned the favor.”
Roscoe said he followed the van on Rohnerville Road until it pulled over at a house. The driver “jumped out and sprinted toward the house,” Roscoe recalled. “There was another rig there.”
Smith was shot to death next to his red Ford F-150 pickup truck. His wife Jessica Springer has testified that she heard shots and saw Goldberg with a gun in his hand.
Under cross-examination, Roscoe said he’d never met Smith or Goldberg but had seen Goldberg’s picture in news reports after the killing. He was able to identify Goldberg, sitting in the courtroom, as the man driving the van.
He said he was familiar with the Smith residence because he often drove by it. Russo asked whether Roscoe had considered the place a drug house.
“People have opinions and it fit the description of a place that could probably be something like that,” Roscoe said.
Asked whether he had seen anything in Goldberg’s hand while he was sprinting toward the house, Roscoe said he did not.
But then he backtracked when being questioned again by the prosecutor, saying Goldberg “could have very well had something in his hands.”
Pressed repeatedly by a visibly furious Russo, Roscoe finally said he didn’t see anything.
Roscoe didn’t contact the District Attorney’s Office until January 2017, saying he had some information about the Smith killing. He had tried several times to inform Fortuna police, but he never got a call back.
Bernthal asked whether that was because he had a poor relationship with the Fortuna Police Department, and Roscoe said “We’ve had some rough patches.”
In 2002 he was arrested and charged for marijuana cultivation, marijuana sales and possession of an assault weapon. Roscoe said those charges have since been reduced to misdemeanors. And in 2014 Roscoe was charged with stalking and threatening a man who owed him money for marijuana. Those charges were dropped.
The final witness today was District Attorney’s Investigator Martin Perrone, an expert in extracting data from cellphones and other electronic devices. Perrone compiled date from the cellphones of Jessica Springer, Rachel Goldberg and Tim Smith. He confirmed Springer had sent a text to Rachel Goldberg about 2 a.m. the day of the killing. (That text was sent after Springer found nude picture of Rachael Goldberg on her husband’s phone.)
In another cellphone exchange between Tim Smith and Rachel Goldberg, she says “Tim, let me know when you get here. Park by the water plant. I’ll come up.”
“Parked,” Smith responded.
Those texts were sent two days before Tim Smith was shot dead.
Testimony was expected to continue this morning before visiting Judge Graham Cribbs.
The prosecution is wrapping up its case, but Russo plans to call several defense witnesses. One of them will be Jon Goldberg, who is expected to testify that Smith reached for a gun and then rushed at him.
- 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