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Judge Denies Bail Request For New York State Trooper Accused Of Murdering 11-Year-Old Girl By Ramming SUV During Chase

Authorities said New York State Trooper Christopher Baldner used his patrol car to ram the family's SUV twice during a pursuit, flipping the vehicle and ejecting 11-year-old Monica Goods, who died in the crash. 

By Jill Sederstrom
Bail Denied For Trooper Accused Of Murdering Girl

A New York State Trooper charged second-degree murder in the death of an 11-year-old girl who was ejected from her family's SUV after authorities say he rammed the vehicle during a high-speed chase has been ordered to stay behind bars.

An Ulster County judge denied a bond request Thursday for New York State Trooper Christopher Baldner, sending the veteran law enforcement officer back to jail as the case against him works through the legal system, according to local station WCBS-TV.

Baldner is accused of killing 11-year-old Monica Goods on Dec. 22, 2020 after he pulled her father Tristin Goods over for traveling “at a high rate of speed” along I-87 in upstate New York at around 11:40 p.m., as the family was heading to visit relatives for Christmas, according to a statement from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Prosecutors said Tristin and Baldner began to argue and Baldner deployed pepper spray into the family’s vehicle.

Tristin—who would later tell The New York Daily News that he had been afraid for his life—took off and Baldner pursued in his patrol car, ramming his vehicle into the family’s SUV twice before it “flipped over several times and came to rest upside down,” authorities said.

Monica Goods, 11, was thrown from the vehicle and died from her injuries.

In court Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Gashi called the troopers alleged actions “deliberate, willful and depraved,” the local station reports.

Baldner’s defense team tried to argued that he should be released before trial on a $100,000 cash bond, offering for him to be confined at home with electronic monitoring.

But a judge decided with prosecutors, who argued that Baldner could be a flight risk.

An Ulster County, New York Grand Jury, consisting of 23 citizens, indicted him for murder among other lesser charges. Based on those charges, that is what the judge determined to be the appropriate bail to insure the defendant’s return to court,” Lucian Chalfen, director of public information for the New York courts told Oxygen.com of the decision.

After the hearing, New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association President Thomas H. Mungeer slammed the judge’s decision, calling it an “American travesty” in a statement obtained by Oxygen.com.

“Although we are extremely disappointed by the judge’s decision in yesterday’s bail hearing in Ulster County Court, the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association will continue to respect the legal process and provider legal representation for Trooper Christopher Baldner, a right afforded to every American citizen,” he said. “However, I cannot help but wonder how justice was served by what I believe was an unexplainable and irrational decision by the judge.”

He went on to argue that members of law enforcement “have been demoted to a second class of citizens” who “continue to play on an unlevel playing field” because of a “separate set of rules” than everyday citizens.

“As this case makes its way through the legal system, we look forward to a review and public release of the facts, including the motorist’s reckless actions that started this chain of events,” he said. “The false narrative that has been provided thus far will be corrected in the coming months.”

Mungeer also called for the Ulster County District Attorney to file charges against the young girl’s father Tristin Goods “whose reckless behavior put everyone traveling on the New York State Thruway that evening in extreme danger.”

Tristin had allegedly been traveling more than 100 miles per hour when Baldner pulled him over.

Tristin told The New York Daily News earlier this year that he had been traveling with his wife, April, and his two daughters Monica, 11, and Tristina, 12, when he was pulled over by an agitated Baldner.

“He was screaming at me, ‘You were going 100 miles per hour and you shook my car!’ Goods told the outlet.

Goods said put his hands on the wheel, but didn’t get out of the car and had asked for Baldner to get his supervisor.

He said Baldner briefly went back to his patrol vehicle and when he returned to the SUV, he unloaded pepper spray into the family’s SUV without warning, causing Goods to take off.

‘I didn’t know what he was going to do next,” he said. “I was like, ‘Holy s—t. This guy is going to kill me now.’”

While announcing the charges against Baldner, James said he had also “similarly endangered the lives of three passengers by using his police vehicle to ram their car” in September of 2019.

“Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl,” James said in October. “While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case.”

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