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Jury Finds Suspect Not Guilty in Death of WKU Student

Published: Mar. 21, 2005 at 5:56 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 28, 2005 at 11:35 AM EST
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(OWENSBORO, Ky.) --More than 3 hours after deliberations began Monday morning, a Daviess County jury found Lucas Goodrum not guilty in the dorm room attack and death of WKU student Katie Autry.

The Western Kentucky University freshman from burns 3 days after the May 4, 2003 attack.

Despite the testimony of a suspect who pleaded guilty in the case and agreed to testify against Goodrum to avoid the death penalty, the jury found the Scottsville man not guilty of rape, arson and murder. That co-defendant, Stephen Soules, implicated Goodrum, as well as testimony from several jail inmates who testified Goodrum told them about the crime.

In the defense closing arguments, attorney David Broderick said there is absolutely no evidence to link Goodrum to the dorm room where Autry was raped and set on fire. Broderick added that there are no eye witnesses who could place Goodrum there. He told the jury there is reasonable doubt in the case and they should find the defendant innocent.

The trial was moved from Bowling Green, where WKU is located, to Owensboro, because of pre-trial publicity.