A New York State Trooper was denied bail on Thursday, Oct. 4, by a Supreme Court judge and will remain behind bars as he awaits trial.
Christopher Baldner faces second-degree murder after a high-speed chase resulted in 11-year-old Monica Goods’ death. In December 2020, Tristan Goods drove his wife and two daughters to visit relatives before Christmas when the trooper stopped him on I-87 for going beyond the speed limit.
According to a report from NBC New York, prosecutors in the case say Baldner sprayed pepper spray into the vehicle during the stop, but the reason as to why he did that was unclear. “Goods said he sped away because he was fearful for his family’s safety.
The trooper is accused of ramming into Goods’ SUV, causing the vehicle to flip several times. Goods’ daughter, Monica, was ejected from the car, and her 12-year-old sister was injured.
Prosecutors argued Thursday that Baldner’s reckless actions during the speed chase caused a child’s death.
“He could have used other, safer methods if they were authorized by a supervisor to end the pursuit, and instead he chose to intentionally ram the Goods’ vehicle two times within nine seconds, and that is what caused the death of Monica Goods,” state prosecutor Jennifer Gashi said.
The trooper’s defense team says Goods refused to provide identification during the stop.
“After the Goods’ vehicle was stopped at 101 mph in a 65 mph zone, there were exchanges between the operator of that vehicle and Mr. Baldner,” said John Ingrassia. “There were repeated and numerous requests by Trooper Baldner for the operator to identify himself.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced that Baldner was indicted by an Ulster County grand jury on Oct. 28.
Baldner also faces manslaughter and multiple reckless endangerment charges.
Members of the trooper’s organization that supports Baldner were disappointed with the judge’s decision on Thursday.
“You have a trooper that has lived in this area for almost two decades. He has a family, kids, he owns a house — he’s not going anywhere,” said Thomas Mungeer, President of the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers. “I believe the Bail Reduction Act of 2019 has worked for everybody, but in this case, it didn’t work for my trooper.”
If convicted, Baldner could spend the rest of his life in prison.