Trial to Begin for Cop Accused in Freddie Gray's Death

Goodson faces the gravest of the charges: depraved-heart murder.

Gray died several days later, his death sparking days of violent protests, riots, and looting.

Prosecutors bear the burden of proving Goodson acted with such wanton and reckless disregard for human life that it amounted to malice. According to Maryland court instructions that are typically given to a jury, the State must prove that Goodson caused the death of Gray, that he created a very high degree of risk to Gray’s life, and that he was conscious of the risk but still acted with extreme disregard. Depraved-heart murder is a type of second-degree murder that doesn’t require an intent to kill.

Porter’s trial ended with a hung jury in December and he will be retried in September. Nero, who opted for a bench trial, was acquitted last month.

Some legal experts are calling this the “make-or-break” case for the state. If they can’t secure a conviction, it could be a devastating blow to Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors are likely to hone in on an unexplained stop Goodson made on his way to the police station. Surveillance footage shows Goodson stopping the van, walking to the back, looking in, returning to the front, and getting back behind the wheel.

Prosecutors claim Gray was hurt and in need of assistance but that Goodson chose to ignore him.

"Despite stopping for the purpose of checking on Mr. Gray's condition, at no point did he seek nor did he render any medical assistance for Mr. Gray," Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said in May 2015.

Goodson’s trial will be the first time anyone has heard his side of the story.

“Goodson's case presents a unique challenge for prosecutors in that he was the only one of the six officers who did not give a statement to investigators,” The Baltimore Sun reports. “The trial is expected to feature medical experts giving contrasting opinions over exactly how and when Gray was injured.”

The question of whether Gray received a “rough ride” – when police intentionally bang suspects around while in transport to cause harm and injury as a form of punishment -- will likely come into play.

While it’s true that Goodson, as the driver of the police van, was expected to have the greatest duty of care according to Baltimore's police code of conduct, Williams will have to determine whether Goodson is criminally liable.