A New York State trooper has been charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of 11-year-old Monica Goods, Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday. Christopher Baldner is accused of ramming a car with four members of the Goods family inside, flipping the car and killing Monica while on duty in December 2020.
The attorney general's office said Baldner was in his police car when he stopped Tristan Goods for speeding in Ulster County just before midnight on December 22. He was going to visit family for Christmas and had his wife and two daughters, who are 11 and 12 years old, in the car with him. During the stop, Baldner administered pepper spray into the Goods' car and Tristan Goods sped off, the indictment said.
The trooper followed the family's car, ramming into the back of their car twice before Goods' vehicle flipped multiple times. Monica Goods was ejected from the car and died, the attorney general said.
It is not clear whether the other members of the Goods family were injured in the incident.
The attorney general charged Baldner with second-degree murder — which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison — second-degree manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
"Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl," James said. "While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case."
Baldner was arraigned in Ulster County Court on Wednesday. His next court appearance is scheduled for November 4, according to the attorney general.
The indictment also alleged that Baldner used his police car to ram a car with three people in it in September 2019, similarly endangering their lives.