Greene County state trooper denied bail on murder charge
Patricia R. Doxsey reports in the Daily Freeman that on Nov. 4 a judge sent Christopher Baldner, a state trooper from Greene County, back to jail for the murder in the death of an 11-year-old girl. Ulster County Judge Bryan Rounds denied bail for the state trooper, who ended a high-speed chase by ramming his vehicle into another car, killing the girl. Baldner’s attorney, Jonathan Ingrassia, requested Baldner be released on $100,000 bail and house arrest. But Rounds said, “based on what’s been presented here today, the court … finds that the least restrictive means necessary to ensure the return to court is to remand the defendant without bail.” Baldner faces a minimum sentence of 15-years-to-life and a maximum sentence of 25-years-to-life in state prison if convicted of second-degree murder. An Ulster County grand jury indicted the state trooper on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and reckless endangerment after the Dec. 22, 2020 crash that killed Monica Goods. Her father, Tristan Goods, was pepper sprayed by Baldner during a traffic in Ulster County on the New York State Thruway. He then sped away, with Baldner following, and eventually, ramming the car. Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Gashi said, "The evidence from the cars will show that this was an intentional ramming and that (Baldner) instead of braking to avoid the collision, accelerated 100 percent into the back of the Goods’ vehicle and after hitting it the first time, nine seconds later he hit them a second time." Gashi suggested the state trooper could have followed Goods, called for backup, or shut down the Thruway. “Instead, he chose to intentionally ram the Goods’ vehicle two times within nine seconds and that is what caused the death of Monica Goods,” she said. And Baldner did this before, and was also indicted on charges of three counts of reckless endangerment for using his police car to ram another vehicle on the Thruway in September 2019. A grand jury concluded Baldner rammed motorist Jonathan Muthu’s 2018 Dodge Caravan, causing the driver to crash into a guardrail, then rammed the stopped vehicle. He could be sentenced to two and one-third to seven years in state prison for that incident. Baldner's lawyer said the state trooper has “deep connections” in the community, including a wife and children in Greene County, when asking for bail. More than a dozen members of the Police Benevolent Association, the state police union, attended the proceeding near supporters of Goods, including the Rev. Kevin McCall, founder of the Crisis Action Center in New York City. As the court session ended, McCall yelled out “murderer,” and later said he was prompted to yell out because of “the racist overtones that was inside the courtroom from the union and those that were inside the courtroom rolling their eyes and smiling and laughing. That’s why I screamed out, ‘he’s a murderer.’ Because that’s what he is.” Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.