Convicted murderer attempts attack on woman

Convicted murderer attempts attack on woman

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


James Gooden spent nearly half of his life in prison for the rape and murder of a woman in 1986, and now will be standing before a Youngstown Municipal Court judge on burglary, attempted rape, assault and kidnapping charges.

Gooden, 57, of Youngstown, is set for a preliminary hearing Monday before Judge Elizabeth Kobly on the felony charges. He is being held in the Mahoning County jail on a $500,000 bond.

Gooden is charged in the attack and attempted rape of a 21-year-old West Side woman last week.

Gooden can go forward with the preliminary hearing Monday or he can waive that hearing and allow charges to be directly presented to a Mahoning County grand jury for possible indictment.

Gooden was convicted in the 1986 stabbing death and rape of a Youngstown woman. He served 25 years in prison on those charges and was released in late 2011.

In the most recent case, Gooden is accused of going to the victim’s Lakeview Avenue home and attempting to assault her after threatening her with a knife.

According to police reports, Gooden went to the home of a neighbor shortly after 11 a.m., carrying a box of candy he said he wanted to give to the victim’s children. The victim invited Gooden into the house.

The victim, who was on the phone speaking with her mother at the time of the incident, told Gooden to put the box of candy on a nearby table. After putting down the candy, Gooden purportedly grabbed the woman, held a long kitchen-knife to her throat and began walking her toward the back of the house.

The victim told police Gooden ordered her to take off all of her clothes, but the victim told Gooden that her children were in the house and she would at least like to shut the door. As Gooden walked her toward the door she pushed him onto a sofa, and they began to struggle.

The smaller and much lighter victim was cut on the hand during the struggle, but managed to escape the house and run to a neighbor’s home where she was able to call police.

Gooden ran from the house and through nearby back yards, but was arrested some time later.

The victim was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center for treatment of the cut to her hand as well as scrapes and bruises she received after falling while running from the house.

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