For the third time in the Katie Autry murder case, a judge has denied bond for co-defendant Lucas Goodrum.
Goodrum is accused of raping and murdering WKU freshman Katie Autry in her dorm room in May of 2003. Co-defendant Stephen Soules pleaded guilty to the crime and is expected to testify against Goodrum at trial.
At a pre-trial hearing Monday, Judge Tom Castlen denied Goodrum's motion for pre-trial release. Goodrum's attorneys came to court arguing that new DNA test results changed the circumstances of the case from the last time Castlen ruled against bond this summer.
The new tests show hair samples from Goodrum's head and private region do not match samples taken from the crime scene. The tests also show hairs taken from a trash can at Goodrum's apartment do not belong to the victim.
Judge Castlen said that while the test results don't help the prosecution, they do not constitute a change in the evidence.
"It doesn't change anything. We would have been happy to have a match, but the fact that we didn't get a match doesn't change anything," said Autry's aunt, Virginia White. "There's four people that's saying that this boy said he did it. And one of them's saying he was there when he did it."
"It doesn't make me angry; it makes me wonder, why would you go through the expense of continuing testing, when you've done excluded him?" said Goodrum's mom, Donna Dugas. "I think the judge was fair; I think the justice system is working. I think the tests they're doing now are coming back exactly like we've said from day one. I thought that they would come back just like Lucas has said from day one; that he's innocent; he was not there."
Castlen did rule in favor of the defense's motion to seek the background records of Richard Mealer, one of three inmates who claim Goodrum confessed to the crime while behind bars. Defense attorneys claim prior court filings indicate Mealer may have a history of distorting the truth and are looking for hard evidence to support that theory.
Castlen will allow the defense to search for Mealer's records with the Social Security Administration, Lifeskills Inc., and Potter Home for Boys. But because of new federal regulations limiting access to such records, no one is sure whether the defense will find the records it is seeking.