A 37-year-old man was today sentenced to life in jail with a minimum of 15 years for the stabbing murder of his ex-partner’s childhood sweetheart.
A Supreme Court jury found Jason Caine Goodwyn guilty of murdering Jodi Edward Henderson, 29, in April 2010 at Goodwyn’s former partner Calley Roberts’ Coolbellup home.
Goodwyn’s two children and Mr Henderson’s three-year-old son Cruz were being sheltered from the fight in the bathroom by Ms Roberts when the stabbing occurred.
It was the first time Mr Henderson and Ms Roberts had seen each other since high school after reconnecting on Facebook.
Mr Henderson had come over to help Ms Roberts clean her garden, while Goodwyn was also visiting at the house.
Supreme Court Commissioner Kevin Sleight said the men started drinking beer and relations between them were “amicable” during the day, but by early evening tensions escalated.
Goodwyn claimed he became angry with Mr Henderson after he made some derogatory comments about Ms Roberts when the men were alone.
Ms Roberts testified she went out and took Cruz from his father’s arms as the men verbally sparred and took him to her children in the bathroom and did not witness the stabbing.
When she went back outside, Mr Henderson was bleeding to death on the ground.
Goodwyn argued he stabbed Mr Henderson in self-defence, alleging he “poked” the victim with a knife he obtained from the kitchen after Mr Henderson attacked him and his brother and threatened to kill him.
Mr Henderson was stabbed five times, including twice in the back.
But Commissioner Sleight said the jury rejected Goodwyn’s self-defence argument, mainly because he ran immediately from the scene and had no injuries when he was arrested the next day.
He said the jury was not satisfied Goodwyn intended to kill Mr Henderson but believed he intended to cause life-threatening injuries.
Commissioner Sleight said Goodwyn showed a “remarkable amount of callousness” by fleeing the scene without offering any assistance and leaving Ms Roberts to deal with a dying Mr Henderson and three scared children.
He said it was obvious both men were drunk.
“(Your intoxication) partly explains your callousness and uncaring attitude,” he said.
Commissioner Sleight said Goodwyn had no history of violent offending, expressed empathy to his victim’s family, particularly his young son, and had enjoyed stable employment, including his last job before the murder as a manager of an Aboriginal art gallery in Fremantle.
But he rejected defence lawyer Justine Fisher’s argument, that a life jail term would be clearly unjust, because of the “enormity” of the crime.
Ms Fisher said her client was “very sorry” for his actions.
“He never meant for it to happen. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t consider the consequences,” she said.
She said he told the author of a psychological report that approaching an agitated man with a knife was “one of the most stupid things he’s done”.
State prosecutor Justin Whalley said Goodwyn stabbed Mr Henderson in a “fit of rage” and his decision to bring a knife to a fist fight led to “disastrous consequences”.
He said the jury’s guilty verdict meant that Goodwyn’s attempts to paint Mr Henderson as a “homicidal aggressor” should be rejected. Mr Whalley said Goodwyn had shown “belated remorse”.
Commissioner Sleight said the toll the murder had taken on Mr Henderson’s family was profound. He said Mr Henderson’s young son had lost the love and support of a father who he is unlikely to remember as he grows older.
Outside court, Mr Henderson’s former partner Sharmaine Sanders said she was pleased with the sentence, especially for her son Cruz, now aged 5.
“It’s been a difficult two years, particularly for Cruz. He’s got strong memories of his dad, he speaks about him constantly and I think for when he grows up at least he knows there’s some justice there for him,” she said.
Ms Sanders said Mr Henderson was a good father and a gregarious and warm man, who liked to have a drink.
She said the fact the murder was committed while three young children were nearby was very distressing.