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Trooper charged with death of 11-year-old Brooklyn girl

Oct. 28 (UPI) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced charges including murder against trooper Christopher Baldner for the death of an 11-year-old Brooklyn girl in December of last year.

The eight-count indictment by the grand jury of Ulster County was announced by James on Wednesday, charging Baldner with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and six counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.

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Baldner was arraigned Wednesday in Ulster County and was remanded.

If convicted on the murder in the second degree charge, Baldner could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

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Monica Goods was killed the night of Dec. 22 after she was thrown from the 2017 Dodge Journey her father was driving after it was twice rammed by the cruiser driven by Baldner.

The charging document states Tristan Goods was driving on the New York State Thruway with his wife and two daughters -- Monica Goods and 12-year-old Christina Goods -- in the car that night to visit family for Christmas when he was pulled over by Baldner for speeding.

During the stop, Baldner is accused of pepper spraying Tristan Goods, who then sped away.

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Baldner then pursued the Goods family and rammed the rear of their vehicle as it was traveling at a high rate of speed, prosecutors said.

On the second ramming attempt by the on-duty officer, Tristan Goods lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over several times.

Monica Goods was thrown from the vehicle as it flipped and was killed, the document said.

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Michelle Surrency, Monica Good's mother, told reporters in a brief press conference after the indictment was announced that Baldner needs to be convicted and sentenced to jail.

"This is just the beginning," she said. "I didn't lose just one child that day, I lost two, because Christina will never be same."

The New York State Troopers Benevolent Association said in a statement it is preparing to provide Baldner with legal representation.

"As this case makes its way through the legal system, we look forward to a review and public release of the facts, including the motorist's reckless actions that started this chain of events," it said.

The announcement of charges was made a week after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order on Oct. 23 to authorize James to investigate and prosecute Baldner if warranted for the death of Monica Goods.

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In that executive order, Hochul revealed that Baldner had been involved in two previous vehicular collisions with civilians, one on Jan. 26, 2017, and the other on Sept. 6, 2019.

Hochul also directed James to investigate those two previous incidents, the details of which were not released.

"Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl," James said in a statement. "While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case."

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