Neha Patil (Editor)

Brigitte Harris case

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Name  Brigitte Harris
Brigitte Harris on an exclusive interview
Born  June 6, 1981 (age 39) (1981-06-06) Staten Island, New York
Occupation  Former JFK Airport security guard
Criminal penalty  5 to 15 years in prison
Criminal status  Incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women Released on Monday, August 13th, 2012
Conviction(s)  Second-degree manslaughter
Similar  Tochigi patricide case, Lizzie Borden, Beatrice Cenci

Brigitte Harris - Woman Chops Off Father's Penis After Years Of Abuse


Brigitte Harris (born June 6, 1981) is a Queens, New York woman who committed the suffocation and castration manslaughter of her Liberian-born father Eric Goodridge in her Rockaway, Queens apartment. Both Brigitte and her sister, Carleen Goodridge, had claimed that their father had raped and sexually abused them since they were little girls. Due to her abuse allegations, Brigitte received an outpouring of supporters, including US Senator Chuck Schumer, New York State Senators Diane Savino and Eric Adams. At Brigitte's highly publicized trial in fall 2009, she was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison.

Contents

Early life

Brigitte Harris wearing a white polo shirt and a pair of eyeglasses

Brigitte Harris was born on June 6, 1981. When she was 2 years old, she was abandoned by her mother in their Park Hill, New York apartment, and she went to live with her father on Bay Shore, New York. Her father later moved back to his home country of Liberia, and Brigitte moved around with relatives. She was physically abused by her grandmother. "In that house we were slaves and if we disobeyed, grandma hit us with a stick," said Harris. Brigitte also claimed she was sexually abused by her cousin "My cousin forced me to perform oral sex on him." During a family trip to Liberia, Brigitte confronted her mother and pastor about the abuse from her relatives but Eric Goodridge denied the allegations, claiming that she was crazy. By the age of 17 Brigitte moved out. When she was 26, Brigitte had been living on her own for years and worked as an airport security guard.

Crime

Brigitte Harris with her sister, Carleen Goodridge

After several years of not seeing their father, Brigitte's sister, Carleen, called Brigitte because their father Eric Goodridge wanted to talk to them. When Brigitte arrived, she saw one of her nieces sitting on Eric's lap. Brigitte and Carleen argued about her sister letting their father stay in her house, considering what he had done to them as children. Eric (Brigitte and Carleen's father) told Brigitte about his decision to take his granddaughters with him to Liberia. On July 28, 2007, Brigitte Harris decided to see her father alone in her Rockaway apartment to reason with him and try to convince him not to take the girls. Brigitte asked her father to get help.

Brigitte Harris while sitting wearing a black shirt and a hat

After the conversation became heated, Brigitte handcuffed her father and gagged him with a towel to prevent him from screaming. Then, using a scalpel, she removed her father's penis. She called 9-1-1, and let them know he was still alive and needed help. She told the operator that she was on her way to the police station, but she never showed up. Instead, she called her sister and told her what she had done. Carleen (Brigitte's sister) advised her to come to her home instead of going to the police. When she arrived, her sister called an ambulance. After seeing her with the scalpel in hand and still in shock, they decided to check her into the Richmond University Medical Center psychiatric ward. Brigitte's sister Carleen hired defense lawyer Arthur L. Aidala to represent Brigitte,.

Brigitte Harris sitting on a table wearing a white polo shirt, gray pants, and a pair of eyeglasses

She told the lawyer details about the sexual abuse that occurred throughout her childhood. She claimed he told her how, in some African cultures, fathers have to take their daughter's virginity. "He said he was doing it because he loves me and that is how fathers show love to their daughters," Brigitte said. Carleen also decided to break the silence and finally admitted that she was sexually abused by their father as well, but was too afraid to speak up. She set up a website called savebridget.com to raise money for her sister's legal defense.

Investigation

Brigitte Harris

After being discharged from the psychiatric ward on August 16, 2007, Brigitte was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter and was held at Rikers Island. Brigitte, who had referred to herself as "Lady Vengeance" and "The Original Dark Angel" on her MySpace page, had claimed that she had not intended to kill her father. "I felt that I had to stop him" "take away his weapon".

Trial

Two years after her arraignment for second-degree murder, Brigitte went to trial in September 2009. She testified in her own defense that she had researched the 1993 castration case of Lorena Bobbitt. Prosecutors maintained that Brigitte had intentionally handcuffed her father, stuffed a towel down his throat, then used a scalpel to remove his penis. She threw the severed penis under a Far Rockaway boardwalk. Brigitte argued that her motive for the killing was not revenge, but an act to prevent Goodridge from taking his granddaughters to Liberia and molesting them.

On September 30, 2009, Brigitte's jury found her guilty of the lesser included offense of second-degree manslaughter. One juror reported that "None of us felt that she deserved to get any murder charges or anything. So we decided on second-degree Manslaughter."

Aftermath

Brigitte Harris wearing a yellow shirt and a pair of eyeglasses

Despite jury letters, Queens Supreme Court Judge Arthur Cooperman sentenced Brigitte Harris to the maximum of 5 to 15 years in prison. After serving 3 years, she was released on parole on August 13, 2012.

Brigitte said, "I don't think killing him was the answer...I can't believe I actually did it. The only thing I had in my mind was to stop him." She also stated that she wants to work for the advocacy group STEPS to End Family Violence when she gets out of prison.

Brigitte's case was profiled on the Oxygen Network series Snapped in November 2010. The program contains statements from Brigitte, her attorney Arthur L. Aidala and her supporters. Her case was later profiled on the Investigation Discovery program Deadly Women in the episode "Parents' Peril".

References

Brigitte Harris case Wikipedia


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