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 July 18, 2023

Murder conviction thrown out because of judge’s sexual misconduct

The murder conviction of a 94-year-old woman's case, which has been a decade in the making, has been shockingly overturned due to the sexual misconduct of the judge presiding over the case. This unexpected twist has led to the possibility of a retrial.

In the year 2013, the peaceful neighborhood of Oklahoma City was shattered by the gruesome murder of 94-year-old Evelyn Goodall.

The elderly woman was discovered in her home, brutally beaten and bound, an image that sent a ripple of horror through the community.

The case took an unexpected turn when Robert Hashagen, a fellow resident of the same neighborhood, was found guilty of the atrocious crime in 2021.

However, the conviction has been shockingly overturned this week by the Court of Criminal Appeals due to a scandal involving the judge who presided over the case. This decision has thrust the case back into the spotlight, raising serious questions about the integrity of the judicial process.

Unraveling the original crime

According to the police reports, an unidentified man broke into Goodall's home, restrained her, and subjected her to a brutal beating.

Despite her severe injuries, Goodall displayed remarkable courage and managed to call 911 herself.

However, fate dealt a cruel hand, and she tragically succumbed to her injuries two days after the attack. The community breathed a sigh of relief when Hashagen was found guilty of the crime, providing a semblance of closure to the horrific incident.

Evelyn's niece, Easter Lily Gower, expressed her relief in 2017, stating to KOCO:

"To think he lived in her neighborhood … pretty scary. I was very excited they found him. How many times do they ever catch a guy like that?"

Scandal overturns conviction

However, the relief was short-lived as the Court of Criminal Appeals made the shocking decision to throw out the conviction.

The decision was based on an undisclosed sexual relationship between the presiding judge, Timothy Henderson, and a prosecutor involved in the case.

This scandal has cast a dark shadow over the initial trial and verdict, tainting the judicial process.

Attorney Benjamin Munda, who was involved in the trial, expressed his shock and disbelief at the scandal:

“I have never found an example as egregious and scandalous as the one found here between Judge Henderson, and at least that we know of, two prosecutors. One of which was involved in Mr. Hashagen’s case."

Anticipation of a new trial

With the conviction now overturned, Hashagen finds himself facing a new trial where his guilt will have to be proven all over again. There's a chance his conviction could be vacated permanently, but this is yet to be determined. The District Attorney’s Office in Oklahoma County is gearing up for the new trial.

The Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office released a statement saying:

"The District Attorney’s Office has reviewed the Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in Mr. Hashagen’s case. We will proceed with retrying him for Murder in the First Degree as directed by the court."

The scandal has not only affected this case but has also cast a pall of doubt over other rulings by Judge Henderson. Other convictions could potentially be overturned due to the judge's misconduct.

What it means

  • The murder conviction of Robert Hashagen for the 2013 murder of Evelyn Goodall has been shockingly overturned due to a scandal involving the presiding judge.
  • The judge, Timothy Henderson, had an undisclosed sexual relationship with a prosecutor in the case.
  • A new trial is on the horizon, and there's a chance that Hashagen's conviction could be vacated permanently.
  • The scandal has cast doubt on other rulings by Judge Henderson, potentially leading to more overturned convictions.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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