Nashville, Tenn. – In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the first degree murder convictions of Hubert Glenn Sexton for the shooting deaths of Stanley Goodman and his wife, Terry Sue Goodman on May 20, 2000 in Scott County. However, due to errors during the trial, the case has been remanded to the trial court for resentencing.
At the time of the murders, Sexton was under investigation for the alleged sexual abuse of Stanley Goodman’s daughter. The Office of the District Attorney, which prosecuted the charges, theorized that Sexton committed the murders in retaliation to the investigation and in an effort to avoid possible prosecution. He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Upon appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the judgment and sentence.
Today, the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the convictions based upon the “overwhelming” circumstantial evidence of guilt, including the defendant having admitted to three different individuals that he was responsible for the murders. The Court also determined, however, that because of errors during the jury selection process, evidentiary errors made by the trial court, and improper arguments by the prosecution team, that Sexton was entitled to a second sentencing hearing. A new jury will determine whether he should be put to death, sentenced to life without the possibility of parole or sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.
The Court also acknowledged the significant delays at the trial level after the return of the guilty verdicts in 2001, noting that because of several changes in defense counsel almost seven years elapsed before the defendant initiated the appeal process. Sexton, who unsuccessfully argued that he was entitled to a change of venue, will likely be resentenced by a Scott County jury.
To read the State of Tennessee v. Hubert Glenn Sexton opinion authored by Justice Gary R. Wade visit http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/sextonhubertopn.pdf.