Rigdon Family Responds to Supreme Court Ruling

The Mississippi Supreme Court this week threw out the death sentence for Howard Goodin, convicted of capital murder in 1998 for the death of Union businessman, Willis Rigdon.

This decision was based on evidence which showed the 58-year-old Goodin to be mentally disabled.

Given what happened before and after the murder, family members of the victim say they are left dismayed.

"I got sick to my stomach," said Janiece Rigdon, Willis Rigdon's widow, after hearing about the high court's decision. "He has spent 14 years on death row. He would've gotten life without parole as an habitual offender. So, he's got no sentence for the kidnap and murder. That's the way that I look at it."

In November of 1998, Willis Rigdon was kidnapped at gunpoint from the restaurant he owned in Union, robbed, shot and left to die on a dirt road.

Because of the events that happened before and after the murder, Rigdon's family members say they do not believe that Goodin is mentally disabled.

"He covered his tracks. And if you are that mental, I don't think you would know to take a camera, a VCR and take the tag of the truck," said Janiece Rigdon.

"When he was in the county jail he filed a lot of his own motions with the sheriff's department saying that he didn't get a shower but once a week and some other motions that he actually filed himself," said Ronnie Blackwell, Rigdon's son-in-law. "He even filed a motion against his attorney at the time. The things he's done just tells me that there's a lot of difference between being uneducated and mentally retarded."

With the Mississippi Supreme Court's ruling this week, Rigdon's family members say there's nothing more they can do.

"There is no closure," said Janiece Rigdon. "We've been given a life sentence for this."


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