Convicted Killer Charged with Attacking Woman in Similar Fashion

James Gooden
James Gooden

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A Youngstown man who spent 25 years in prison for killing a Stansbury Drive mother in 1986 is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on $500,000 bond, accused of attacking a 21-year-old mother in similar fashion last week.

James M. Gooden, 57, entered no plea Monday in Youngstown Municipal Court to charges of first-degree felony aggravated burglary, second-degree felony kidnapping, second-degree felony attempted rape and second-degree felonious assault.

The charges carry a maximum 35 years in prison. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next Monday.

Gooden was released from prison Sept. 6, 2011 after exactly 25 years of incarceration on voluntary manslaughter and attempted rape convictions for fatally stabbing Rose Jefferson on Sept. 3, 1986, according to court, police and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections records.

Reports said Gooden on Thursday went to his next door neighbor’s home in the 100 block of S. Lakeview Avenue and told the woman he wanted to drop off seven bags of M&M Pretzel candy for her children.

The woman, who told police she was on the phone at the time, told Gooden to put the candy on a nearby table, reports said. Gooden then “suddenly and violently” grabbed her phone and held a foot-long kitchen knife to her throat, reports said.

Reports said he forced the woman to the back of the house at knifepoint and told her to take off her clothes. The woman said she told Gooden that her children were in the home and asked if she could close the front door in order to stall Gooden.

The woman said while walking into the front part of the home, she pushed Gooden on to a loveseat and the two struggled for the knife.

During the fight, the woman’s right hand was sliced and she was taken to an area hospital where she received several stitches, reports said. She ran from the house, fell and scraped her right knee and went to a neighbor’s home.

A witness told police they saw Gooden fleeing through backyards. The person he’s living with told police Gooden was staying with her and helping her with her mother. Gooden turned himself in to police on Saturday.

Gooden, archived records show, attacked a cousin in similar fashion 26 years ago and about three miles away from Thursday’s alleged attack. Witnesses and family members told police at the time Gooden used a butcher’s knife to stab Jefferson, his cousin, once in the neck and twice in the upper right side of her chest.

Six children were inside the home at the time of the killing, reports said, all of which were under 12 years old.

Gooden’s sister told police Jefferson and her 3-year-old and three-month-old children were living with her for two months. She said when she left her home, Gooden and Jefferson were sitting on the couch drinking Wild Irish Rose and Mickey’s beer.

When she returned she noticed Jefferson’s children sleeping alone on the first floor. When she went upstairs she found both Jefferson and Gooden naked on a bed. Jefferson was lying on her back with blood under her right arm, reports said. Gooden was lying sideways on his back with his feet over Jefferson’s stomach sleeping.

Gooden, 29 at the time, initially told his sister Jefferson left the home, then said she was upstairs and left in a gray pinstripe suit, reports said. Investigators reported they found Jefferson lying face down with a red robe draped across her.

The next day, Gooden, still in his grey pinstripe suit, went to a neighbor’s home to ask for money. When the woman went to retrieve money to give him, he put a knife to the woman’s throat and said “This knife already has blood on it. Give me all your money,” reports said.

The neighbor gave him $4 and Gooden, reports said, apologized. He told the woman he needed to leave the area quickly and said he was likely going to Fort Worth, Texas or California.

A man living at the same home as the neighbor and Rev. Johnathan Wilson, reports said, called police Sept. 6, three days after the murder, and helped Gooden turn himself into police.

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