CORNER BROOK — Shandi Joy Goodyear plunged a knife into Clifford Payne’s left biceps so deeply that it stood straight out of his arm until it was removed.
Tuesday night, a jury found the 26-year-old Deadman’s Cove woman guilty of aggravated assault, saying she intentionally stabbed her former boyfriend. With the conviction, the jury rejected Goodyear’s defence that she was defending herself from being assaulted by Payne.
The stabbing happened in McIvers in the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2011, when the two became embroiled in an argument about allegations that Payne had been communicating with other women via his Facebook account.
During a roughly one-week trial in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook earlier this month, the jury heard two diametrically opposed perspectives on what transpired. On Tuesday morning, Crown attorney Mike Fox and defence counsel Gary Kearney gave their final summations to the jury.
Kearney addressed the jury first, telling them Goodyear had picked up the nine-inch steak knife in an attempt to stop Payne from assaulting her. He said Payne was not forthcoming in his testimony, stating he could not recall what they were arguing about.
Kearney said Payne, even in court, was concealing the accusations that he was communicating with other women on social media because it was embarrassing to him. If Payne was not willing to admit to his clandestine Facebook communications, Kearney argued, then he is not likely to admit to the court that he was assaulting Goodyear on the night in question either.
Kearney said Payne became infuriated with Goodyear having accessed his private Facebook messages, and was angered further that she would not let up arguing with him about the communications she said she had discovered.
“She’s not going to shut up, so he’s going to shut her up,” Kearney alleged.
That assault, according to the defence, involved verbal abuse, threats to kill Goodyear and Payne placing his hands around her neck. Looking for something to protect herself, said Kearney, Goodyear reached for the knife that was near her and stabbed Payne in the ensuing struggle.
Goodyear did not grab the knife out of aggression, said Kearney, but for her own protection.
Payne said Goodyear stabbed him as he was about to leave the house. Kearney said it would not make sense, physically, for Goodyear to come up to Payne from behind and, holding the knife in her right hand, stab him in the left biceps.
‘Back to his senses’
After the stabbing, the violence stopped and Goodyear helped bandage Payne’s injured arm. Kearney said this was evidence that Payne knew Goodyear had resorted to such measures to defend herself from him.
The shock of being stabbed brought Payne “back to his senses,” argued Kearney.
Payne went to hospital, but would not tell those treating him who had stabbed him. Kearney said Payne feared a police investigation of the stabbing would reveal his assaultive behaviour.
Fox painted a completely different picture of what happened. He said the quiet, reserved demeanor Payne showed while in court was an indication he wasn’t the aggressor in the incident.
He also said Payne did not want the police involved because he had told Goodyear he wouldn’t tell the police and may have had reservations about the court process.
Both Payne and Goodyear testified that Payne was trying to avoid Goodyear’s line of questioning about the Facebook messages she had seen. Both testified that she was the one pursuing him.
At one point, Payne locked himself in the bathroom while Goodyear was outside the door questioning him about his infidelity. According to the Crown’s version of what happened, Payne came out of the bathroom and was bitten by Goodyear during a brief physical altercation.
Then, as he tried to leave the house, Goodyear stabbed him.
Fox said the probability of Payne being stabbed as he tried to leave, which the defence suggested was improbable, was actually quite possible. If Payne was reaching for the doorknob with his right hand, Fox said, then the left side of his body would have been turned more towards Goodyear as she approached him with the knife.
The Crown said it was an infuriated and raging Goodyear who stabbed Payne because he was trying to leave and escape the questions she had for him. After the three-hour argument they had, Fox said the stabbing was the culmination of her anger, jealousy and frustration.
Justice William Goodridge read his charge to the jury Tuesday afternoon and the jury began deliberating late in the day. The jury reached its verdict shortly after 8:30 Tuesday evening.
The matter will be called again this morning to set a date for sentencing.