The friend who drove murder suspect Jon David Goldberg home after Timothy Smith was shot to death testified Wednesday that Goldberg was still incredulous that “that man put his dick in my wife. And he said that in disbelief.”
Steve Shapiro, a 58-year-old Rio Dell resident, also said Goldberg’s wife Rachel had, in front of her husband, kissed his neck on a couple of occasions and wrapped her leg around him.
“She was trying to put me in the same position that she put Tim, the guy who got shot,” Shapiro said under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal. “If I would have fallen for her game, the way Tim did, I would have been in the same position.”
Shapiro spent much of his time on the witness stand totally befuddled, saying he couldn’t remember telling law enforcement that Goldberg came to his house and said “Dude, I just murdered someone. I need some help.”
Shapiro said his memory is so faulty that “I can’t walk from one room to another and remember things.”
At one point Shapiro explained that “I’ve been a chronic pot smoker for over 40 years. I drink a lot. I’m scrambled.”
What Shapiro recalled was that Goldberg showed up at his house while he was eating lunch. He didn’t seem to be in his right mind, Shapiro said.
He recalled Goldberg saying “Dude. I love you. You’re my friend. I shot somebody. I need some help.”
As to why he told Fortuna police that Goldberg said “Dude, I murdered somebody,” Shapiro said he was wrong in saying that. He believed he had picked up the term “murder” from media reports.
Shapiro said he followed Goldberg to Avenue of the Giants, where he parked his mini-van and climbed into Shapiro’s truck. Shapiro said he gave his friend two choices: turn himself in or go home.
“He took home,” Shapiro said.
On the way to Goldberg’s property in the Bridgeville area, Shapiro warned his friend that the police would be coming. He advised him to stay calm, not have any weapons around, smile and be nice.
A SWAT team came for Goldberg about 7 p.m. that day, which was Sept. 26, 2016. Smith had been gunned down about 12:30 p.m.
Shapiro said he and Goldberg had been friends for “seven to nine years,” and saw each other almost daily after they first met. The relationship waned in the couple of years before Smith’s killing. One reason is that the Goldbergs would get drunk and start arguing, so he would leave. He blamed the arguments mostly on Rachel.
“It wasn’t a 50-50 split,” Shapiro said. He did say the arguments had escalated over the years.
Under cross-examination by Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo, Shapiro said he never saw Goldberg being abusive to his wife, and the only time he saw bruises on her was when she got drunk and fell down some stairs.
A friend of Rachel Goldberg’s testified earlier in the trial that Jon and Rachel regularly got into physical fights, and she often came to her job at Bridgeville Elementary School with bruises on her arms and legs.
The night of Smith’s killing, after he took Goldberg home, Shapiro got drunk on tequila and had his wife drive him to the Fortuna Police Department. He offered to help them bring Goldberg in, because “I didn’t want my friend to get killed.” The police declined his assistance, and he went home and proceeded to drink “for a week.”
Shapiro told FPD nothing about helping Goldberg get rid of the van and driving him home. It wasn’t until last month that police contacted him by cellphone while he was working in Oregon. He told them Goldberg had said he killed Smith “because he dicked my wife.”
When he met with Bernthal and an investigator last month, Shapiro said he didn’t want to answer any questions about the case but did want to testify as a character witness for Goldberg.
He did tell Bernthal during the meeting that when the Goldbergs would get drunk and start arguing, he wanted “to get the hell out of there because things were going to go south.”
Shapiro said he got out of there “because of her, not him.”
He described Jon Goldberg as a peaceful, mellow kind of guy he’d never seen angry, “just frustrated.”
But Shapiro told police he’d seen Goldberg “angry, irate.”
When Bernthal asked Shapiro whose idea it was to dump the van, he said “It was mine.” He said he didn’t want the van parked in his driveway. His wife was home sleeping and his kids might come by.
“Did you tell him to get rid of his guns, too?” Bernthal asked.
“He told me he didn’t have anything on him.”
The gun that killed Smith was never recovered. An empty holster was found in Goldberg’s van.
Visiting Judge Graham Cribbs told jurors Wednesday afternoon the trial will not be in session Thursday but will resume Friday morning. The prosecution is close to wrapping up its side of the case, and then the defense will call witnesses. Goldberg will be among them, and is expected to testify that Smith reached for a gun and then rushed at him.
Asked Wednesday whether Goldberg had talked about why he went to Smith’s home, Shapiro said “If I remember correctly I do believe he went to talk to the missus (Smith’s wife Jessica Springer). Tim wasn’t supposed to be there.”
- 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