COURTROOM BLOG: Follow the latest in the trial of Nicholas Godejohn

(KSPR)
Published: Nov. 12, 2018 at 11:07 PM CST
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The trial for Nicholas Godejohn begins Tuesday in Greene County.

Godejohn faces a murder charge in the stabbing death of Dee Dee Blanchard, the mother of Gypsy Blanchard in 2015. Godejohn was Gypsy's boyfriend. Gypsy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of her mother. She is serving a ten-year sentence.

FRIDAY:

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4:25 - The jury finds the defendant, Nicholas Godejohn, guilty of murder in the 1st degree. The punishment is life in prison without the possibility of probation or parole. The jury also finds Godejohn guilty of armed criminal action.

4:20 - The jury has reached a verdict and is coming back to the courtroom.

2:09 - Closing arguments end. Jury taken back to jury room to deliberate.

1:56 - Prosecutor Dan Patterson addresses the jury for closing arguments as a response to defense arguments.

1:34 - Defense starts their closing arguments. Attorney Dewayne Perry starts out telling the jury that Godejohn is mentally incapable of thinking ahead and planning murder. It was Gypsy who controlled the situation. Perry continues to say how complicated this case is and that Gypsy manipulated Godejohn.

1:10 - Nathan Chapman begins closing arguments for the state. He says when it comes to the defendant's guilt, it doesn't matter if Gypsy asked Godejohn to kill her mother, arguing Gypsy didn't manipulate him, and he clearly deliberated. Chapman points out Godejohn chose the weapon, even did web searches for different kinds of knives, and came up with the cover story.

12:45 - The jury has entered the courtroom and is hearing jury instructions. The prosecution and defense will each get 45 minutes to make their closing arguments.

Judge explains jury instructions, that they must consider whether Godejohn is guilty of 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, or involuntary manslaughter, and if he is guilty of armed criminal action.

9:40 - Dr. Denney is excused, concluding rebuttal evidence. Judge and attorneys will now work on jury instructions. Jury will have an early recess and come back at 12:30 for closing arguments.

9:30 - Denney testifies Godejohn has a long history with autism spectrum disorder and concludes he has autism spectrum disorder.

Denney testifies for prosecution that Godejohn is just barely within the diagnosis of autism. Denney says regarding abstract reasoning, problem solving and judgement, Godejohn's scores are perfectly normal.

9:00 - Nicholas Godejohn enters the courtroom, and Day 4 of the murder trial begins. Defense begins cross examination of state witness, Dr. Denney. Denney testifies for defense about the number of evaluations he has done, his forensic neuropsychology work, and testing and interviews he did with Godejohn.

Denney testifies Godejohn scored low average to below average on tests, many of them lower than Dr. Franks. Denney says Godejohn scored a 77 on full scale IQ. 68% of the population have an IQ between 85 and 115. In an adult autism assessment, Denney says individuals with autism, score is usually above 32 to be consistent with the diagnosis. The higher the number, the more autistic traits. Godejohn scored a 28.

THURSDAY:

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5:33 - Court adjourns for the day. Trial will start at 9am Friday. The defense team will have their chance to cross examine Dr. Denney at that time.

5:19 - Court in recess. Trial to resume in 5 minutes with cross examination of Dr. Denney by defense attorneys.

3:54 - Trial resumes. Prosecution calls clinical psychologist, Dr. Robert Denney, a rebuttal witness to challenge Dr. Frank's opinion about Godejohn.

3:39 - Defense rests their case. Court in recess.

3:30 - Cross examination of Dr. Kent Franks ends. Judge David Jones talks to Godejohn about testifying. He decides not to take the stand.

3:09 - Trial resumes with cross examination of Dr. Kent Franks, forensic psychologist, expert witness for the defense. Prosecutor Dan Patterson is trying to debunk the expert's opinion.

2:50 - Court in recess for a short break.

1:50 Defense continues to call their witnesses starting with Dr. Kent Franks, forensic psychologist. He talks about Godejohn's childhood and mental disabilities. Franks performed a series of tests to determine Godejohn's intelligence and mental health.

1:44 Court back in session.

12:15 Both defense and prosecution are finished questioning Gypsy. The jury leaves for lunch before Gypsy leaves the courtroom, so they won't see her restraint. A bailiff says any inmate in street clothes wears a leg brace on one leg that will lock up if they try to walk too fast. It wasn't visible under Gypsy's pants, but she walked slowly.

11:45 - She says it was Godejohn that says he wanted to stab her mom, and asked her to steal the knife, get tape and a tazer. But she was unable to get a tazer.

11:30 Gypsy says she just planned to be with Godejohn forever and remain a missing person. She says she made the Facebook post on Dee Dee's account, implying she was dead, because she wanted her mother found. Gypsy says she was posting as Godejohn. She says she didn't take her mother's car because she didn't know how to drive. Defense ends questioning.

Gypsy tells prosecution that Godejohn had an alter ego called Victor the Vampire and she called him Master. She testifies that the defendant would sometimes send her a script for videos they recorded, and sometimes they were things she didn't want to do. She says he would talk about rape fantasies and she would let him talk about it to indulge him. Gypsy says Godejohn would get mad if she didn't capitalize his name when messaging him.

11:25 Court is back from a short recess because of an electrical smell. Gypsy testifies Godejohn was her first boyfriend, and that she had three plans A, B, and C, to be with him. The first was meeting in a movie theatre, acting like strangers. The second was to get pregnant. She says she stole money from her mother for Godejohn to travel to Springfield. She says her mother was murdered around 3AM on June 10, 2015, they left the house about 6AM and went to the Day's Inn. Gypsy testifies she stole the knife, the murder weapon, from Walmart, and also gave Nick the latex gloves. Gypsy says she planned her mother's murder. She had also considered poison, arson and a gun.

10:45 a.m. Gypsy shared that she paid for Godejohn's transportation to Springfield in March 2015. Gypsy says when she talked to her dad on the phone, her mom was present. She gave Godejohn the money to come to Springfield. He came and they met at a movie theater, trying introduce her mother to him, but it didn't go well at all. They had sex at the movie theater. Gypsy testified she and Godejohn had plans to marry and have kids. She stole baby clothes from Walmart and hid them in her wheel chair. Thoughts of killing her mother started a year before it actually happened. Gypsy said she talked Godejohn into killing her mother. She also shared to the court both had alter-egos.

10:30 - The defense has called Gypsy Blanchard as its first witness. She entered the courtroom dressed in a gray sweater. The judge asked her to hold the microphone because of her soft voice. Gypsy says she was about 21, in October 2012, when she met Nicholas Godejohn on a Christian dating website. She says they first met in person in March of 2015, after communicating for years online and in text messages, secretly, because her mother would never allow it. She says she always knew she didn't need a wheel chair, because she could walk.

Gypsy says she told Godejohn about the wheel chair about a month into their relationship, and told him around one year, that she didn't need the wheel chair. She says she told him she had illnesses, and also later told him she didn't have cancer and muscular dystrophy, a hearing disability, and a seizure disorder.

She says she ran away in Spring 2011, her mother found her four hours later, smasher her computer and cell phone, and chained her to a bed for two weeks. She says she also suffered hitting, punching, starvation.

10:20 Court is now in session. Defense plans to call Gypsy Blanchard as its first witness. The jury is not yet in the courtroom.

9:45 - Still waiting for court to go into session. The defense will begin presenting its case today.

WEDNESDAY:

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5:00 - Court adjourns for the day and prosecution rests.

4:00 - Court in session. Investigator continues to read text messages between Godejohn and Gypsy out loud for the jury.

3:45 - Court in recess.

3:00 - Gypsy's phone didn't appear to have cell service, but could communicate with apps on wifi. The phone had Yahoo Messenger, which included messages sent to other phones, including Godejohn's phone. Costello reads many messages between Godejohn and Gypsy, calling each other names like hun, dear, sweetie, and baby.

2:45 - Costello says he found web searches on Godejohn's computer for bondage tape, knives and tasers, Greyhound tickets, taxis, directions from Godejohn's addresss to the bus station in Milwaukee, and a search for Day's Inn in Springfield. He found Godejohn connected to the hotel wifi once he arrrived. Another search was for directions from Day's Inn to West Volunteer Way, Gypsy's house.

2:15 The state calls Michael Costello, a computer forensic analyst with the Springfield Police Department. Costello testifies about examining a desktop computer, a laptop and some phones, a Kyocera flip phone and an LG touchscreen phone. He testifies a program on one computer was meant to erase history, but the program wasn't working properly. The hard drive was encrypted and files inside were further encrypted, including a folder called "My Dear Gypsy" that contained multiple videos. He found Skype messages, sexual stories and numerous videos of Gypsy and Godejohn talking to each other.

1:30 - Court resumes. State calls former Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab employee, who was a DNA criminalist. Aaron Exner testifies he did DNA testing on a red substance from a roll of paper towels taken from the bathroom at Gypsy's home. The blood stains were consistent with Godejohn's DNA. Another swab in the bathroom showed a mixture of Godejohn, Gypsy and her mother. Swabs from the knife blade and handle showed the DNA likely being a mixture from Clauddine Blanchard and Nicholas Godejohn, and the handle of the knife having DNA from Gypsy, her mother and Godejohn.

12:00 - Court in recess until 1:30

11:30 - Jury saw the knife investigators found in the yellow envelope mailed from Gypsy's house to Godejohn's. State also presented a glove found with the knife that appeared bloody and had a cut, coinciding with the cut on Goedejohn's finger.

11:00 - Jury is viewing surveillance video from the Day's Inn in Springfield and the Greyhound bus station, showing Nicholas Godejohn and Gypsy Blanchard.

10:35 State calls an investigator with Greene County Sheriff's Office who went to Wisconsin. He testifies about surveillance video from the Day's Inn in Springfield, showing Godejohn and Gypsy Blanchard.

10:20 - Court in recess until 10:35

10:00 State calls Alan Voss, who investigated the case with the Wakesha County Sheriff's Office. Voss testifies he made a log of evidence and collected it. Prosecutor Dan Patterson shows Voss the black flip phone seized from Godejohn's house and other bags containing evidence collected. Evidence bags contain evidences including Marlborro duffel bag, t-shirt and hooded sweatshirt from inside the duffel bag.

9:45 - Pictures also show a large amount of cash found in the house, a piece of paper with the Day's Inn logo found in a jacket pocket, three women's wigs, a suitcase and a duffel bag both filled with clothing, a room key from a hotel with the word "Ozarks" on it, and a t-shirt with suspected blood spots. Photos also show a black hooded sweatshirt with suspected blood, a yellow envelope mailed from Springfield with Gypsy's home as the return address.

Defense cross examines, pointing out that the clothes with suspected blood were not cleaned, just left in a bag, and that Godejohn lived with his parents.

9:20 - Court is in session. State Calls Detective Jordy Kropp of Waukesha County Sheriff's Office in Wisconsin. He testifies he took photos as part of the search warrant at Nicholas Godejohn's house in Big Bend, Wisconsin. State shows jury pictures Detective Kropp took of the house, including a pair of white tennis shoes with what appears to be small splatters of blood.

TUESDAY:

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5:00 Testimony ended with Facebook messages exchanged between Godejohn and a few people.

4:05 Court resumes with Investigator Angela Maholy on the stand talking about her training on interrogating people with special needs.

3:50 - Court in recess.

3:33 - Video interrogation continues. Godejohn tells investigator that he remembers stabbing Dee Dee for about 5 minutes. He describes how he was on top of her while doing it, making stabbing motions. He says the bad part of him, his evil side, made him do it.

3:20 - Godejohn's video interview continues. He tells investigator it was Gypsy's idea to mail the knife they used to stab Dee Dee to Wisconsin so they could hide it.

3:00 Recorded interview continues. Godejohn tells the investigator that Gypsy helped to clean up the blood while naked. Then he says he had sex with Gypsy in her room after Dee Dee's is killed. He tells the investigator Dee Dee is long gone by this time. After sex the pair pack up some of Gypsy's things. He said Gypsy finished cleaning up the crime scene before taking off. He says he did not help. He said he had a feeling they would get caught.

2:30 In recorded interview, Maholy tells Godejohn if he loves Gypsy, he needs to tell the truth, and she knows he's not telling the truth. He admits he stabbed Gypsy's mother, Dee Dee, and it was for Gypsy. He says Gypsy gave him the knife and he stabbed Dee Dee four times, as she yelled for Gypsy. He says Gypsy wanted to go in the bathroom while he did it, and he wouldn't let Gpsy see her mother's body.

2:15 State begins playing video of Godejohn's conversation with Detective Maholy. Godejohn says he met Gypsy on a Christian dating website, they decided to be in a committed relationship and began communicating in other ways. He says he got to Springfield on a Greyhound bus and walked to a hotel. He tells the detective he was waiting for a long time to get in touch with Gypsy, and says Gypsy's mom had kicked her out of the house, then Gypsy showed up at the hotel.

2:00 The state is about the play video of Nicholas Godejohn's confession to detectives, telling the judge it's an hour and a half long. But first, state calls Angela Maholy, who investigated the case with the Greene County Sheriff's Office. She testified about how she usually conducts interviews, in a pleasant manner, to build rapport with the suspect. She traveled to Wisconsin to interview Nicholas Godejohn.

1:45 The state calls John Harmon, another Springfield Yellow Cab driver, who picked up two people from the home on Volunteer Way and took them to the Day's Inn just before 6AM. He noticed the female appeared to be wearing a wig, and testified it was the female who paid the cab fare.

State calls Trevor Teeling, a detective with the Greene County Sheriff's Office, who testifies about collecting surveillance video from the Greyhound bus station, which shows Nicholas Godejohn and Gypsy Blanchard.

1:30 Court back in session. The state calls Sherri Messer, the Yellow Cab driver who picked up Nicholas Godejohn at the Day's Inn and took him to the home on Volunteer Way.

12:15 Court is in recess until 1:30.

12:00 The prosecution calls multiple witnesses who investigated the case with the Greene County Sheriff's Office. One testified about swabs taken from Claudine Blanchard's body. Another testified about obtaining surveillance video at the hotel where Nicholas Godejohn stayed prior to going to the Blanchard home.

11:30 The state calls Tom Vandeberg, chief forensic investigator with the Greene County Medical Examiner's office. He testified about finding Claudine Blanchard's body in the bedroom at the murder scene with several stab wounds and blood soaked bedding and clothing.

11:10 a.m. The courtroom is in recess until 11:20 a.m.

11 a.m. Jurors are getting a look at pictures taken inside the home by detectives following the death of Dee Dee Blanchard. Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson is asking a witness about the blood also swabbed from inside the home.

10:45 a.m. Prosecution has called first witness, a deputy with the Greene County Sheriff's office, who responded to the scene.

10:30 a.m. Defense begins opening statement, Attorney Andrew Mead describing how Nicholas Godejohn was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and developmental disabilities were expected. He was diagnosed with autism in elementary school. Defense also describes a lack of emotional support from his mother, hallucinations and being diagnosed with Aspbergers syndrome as a teen, and that Nick Godejohn had few friends and spent much of his time online. Defense says, being autistic, Nick had a different perception of the world. Defense describes Nick being completely in love with Gypsy, who he met on a Christian dating website, how they met at a movie theater once, acting as strangers, had sex in the restroom, and tried to get her mother to accept Nick. But it didn't work. Defense says Nick has a low IQ, suffers cognitive disabilities, and "Nick wasn't able to form the necessary mental state to commit murder in the first degree."

10 a.m. The jury is in the courtroom and is receiving jury instructions.

Prosecution begins opening statement. Attorney Nathan Chapman argues Claudine was the only thing that stood between him and Gypsy being together, saying Godejohn deliberated on whether to take Gypsy and run or kill Claudine (Dee Dee) Blanchard. Prosecution goes through timeline of the Facebook post that suggested Claudine was dead and Gypsy had been raped, Claudine's body being found, to finding Gypsy and Godejohn in Wisconsin. Prosecution talks about Godejohn's confession of stabbing Claudine in the back and neck, he and Gypsy having sex, mailing the knife to Godejohn's house and taking a Greyhound bus back to Wisconsin.

9:30 a.m. Defense argues against testimony from a doctor the prosecution plans to call as an expert on Autism. Judge will allow the testimony. Pre-trial issues are completed, and trial will begin at 9:55AM.

9:10 a.m. Nicholas Godejohn enters the courtroom, dressed in a white collared shirt and dress pants. Court is in session. Prosecution explains to Judge Jones their proposal to bring up sexual misconduct in the trial, regarding Godejohn's sexual relationship with co-defendant Gypsy Blanchard and his statement that he thought about raping Dee Dee Blanchard. Defense argues it's not relevant. Judge will allow testimony.