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Case against former CPD officer accused of murder sent to grand jury

(Photo Credit: Local 3 News) From our partners at Local 3 News: UPDATE: The case against a former Chattanooga police officer who is accused of murder

(Photo Credit: Local 3 News)

From our partners at Local 3 News: UPDATE: The case against a former Chattanooga police officer who is accused of murder was sent to a grand jury on Thursday.


Police say 43-year-old Lawrence Goodine is accused of killing 48-year-old Kara Akins in November 2023.


Goodine was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.


Thursday’s preliminary hearing showed evidence including motion censored Ring camera video and autopsy pictures.


“I would argue this is probably the most important video of them all,” said Chattanooga Police Department Investigator Alvin Abbett.


The camera captured Goodine running towards Akins as she yelled “stop” and asked him “why are you doing this?”


Investigator Abbett walked the courtroom through what was found as he observed Akins’ autopsy.


“The hyoid bone was fractured along with multiple, multiple bruising in the muscles of the neck,” said Abbett.


National Library of Medicine Research says that “fractures of the hyoid bone resulting from trauma other than strangulation are very rare.”


The medical examiner declared Akins’ cause of death as manual strangulation and blunt force trauma.


During a hearing on Thursday, Judge Gary Starnes dismissed the charge of tampering with evidence before sending the case to a grand jury.


The request by Goodine’s attorney to lower his client’s $3-million bond was also denied by Judge Starnes.


“Mr. Goodine is definitely a danger to the community from what we have seen in these photos and the evidence we’ve heard today and looking at the Medical Examiner’s report. I also think, giving the nature of the circumstances of this incident, he’s also a flight risk,” said Starnes.


Goodine remains in the Hamilton County Jail and Detention Center.



PREVIOUS STORY: Lawrence Goodine, the man charged with the murder of 48-year-old Kara Akins, appeared in court Tuesday morning.


The former Chattanooga police officer failed to hire a new attorney to represent him forcing Judge Gary Starnes to push the preliminary hearing to March 14th.


The victim’s family who traveled from all over the country to be here for the hearing were left frustrated.


“We had people come from Florida, a sister from Florida, a sister from California, and a daughter from Colorado come in to see the hearing,” said Roger Layne, Attorney representing the victims family.


Layne tells us the court’s hands were tied when Goodine appeared Tuesday with out any representation.


Goodines previous attorney withdrew from the case on January 17th. But somehow the DA’s Office was not notified that Goodine needed a new attorney.


“That was a little striking to me as well, because typically once something is filed you’re going to send the notice to the DA’s Office,” said Layne.


“I apologize to the victims family, this should have been resolved earlier,” said Judge Gary Starnes.


The family of Akins could be seen in court shaking their heads in disappointment.


“Hopefully have… not closure, but some step towards a resolution today and they’re a little frustrated, and I don’t blame them,” said Layne.


Judge Starnes was able to get another attorney who had experience with murder trials to represent Goodine for the preliminary on March 14th.


Right now Goodine is claiming Kara Akins died of an overdose, but medical examiners have determined Akins death to be a homicide by strangulation.


To honor her memory the family is hosting a celebration of life for Akins on February 3rd at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, starting at 11 am.


“The family is inviting people to come and share stories.. a remembrance that really is a celebration of her life,” said Layne.