Former police detective pleads guilty in Breonna Taylor cover-up

Detective behind warrant that led to raid in US state of Kentucky admits to federal conspiracy charge

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A former detective who helped write the warrant that led to the deadly police raid at Breonna Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a federal conspiracy charge.

Federal investigators said Kelly Goodlett added a false line to the warrant and later conspired with another detective to create a cover story when Taylor’s March 13, 2020, shooting death by police began gaining national attention.

Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was shot to death by officers who knocked down her door while carrying out a drug search warrant for a different house. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and police returned fire, striking Taylor several times.

Ms Goodlett appeared in a federal courtroom in Louisville and admitted to conspiring with another Louisville police officer to falsify the warrant. She briefly answered several questions from federal judge Rebecca Jennings Grady.

Three former Louisville officers were indicted on criminal civil rights charges earlier this month by a federal grand jury. Ms Goodlett was not indicted, but charged in a federal information filing, which probably means the former detective is co-operating with investigators.

Ms Goodlett will be sentenced November 22. Ms Grady said there may be “extenuating circumstances” that may move the court to push back the sentencing date. Part of the plea hearing was also kept under seal and was not discussed in open court on Tuesday. She faces up to five years in prison for the conviction.

She resigned from the department August 5, a day after US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new federal charges in the Taylor case.

Former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany were indicted on charges related to the warrant used to search Taylor’s home.

A third former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with using excessive force when he retreated from Taylor’s door, turned a corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment. He was acquitted by a jury on similar state charges earlier this year.

The three former officers have all been fired and face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on the civil rights charges.

Updated: August 23, 2022, 7:12 PM
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