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Coroner Claims Ohio Man Murdered In Police Custody, Police Say Suicide

An Ohio coroner ruled the October hanging death of a man in police custody to be homicide by strangulation last week, contradicting claims made by local law enforcement.

Nine days after his arrest, 24-year-old Zachary Goldson was discovered hanging from a bed sheet at the Brown County jail. While officers claimed suicide, autopsy results released last week by Brown County Coroner Judith Varnau revealed that to be an impossibility.

According to jail documents, Goldson, who had reportedly swallowed a toothbrush, pen and staples, was scheduled to receive an endoscopy and cleared for transport hours before his death. While attempting to remove Goldson from a police vehicle, authorities say Deputy Travis Justice was struck in the head as Goldson struggled to obtain his firearm.

“He’s never done anything like that before,” Goldson’s mother Christina Dennis told WCPO 9 News. “I don’t know if that was — something happened in the jail, you know, that he wanted out of there badly. Something must have really went wrong in the six days he was there because he’s been in trouble before and he had never done anything like this.”

Dashcam video shows the moment several officers arrive to assist Deputy Justice in detaining Goldson. Once detained, officers reveal what some consider an eerily specific threat only one hour before Goldson’s death.

“This motherf***er is going to receive a welcome party at the jail,” one officer says. “I’d like to break your f***ing neck right now.”

Back in jail, Goldson was given paper clothing and removed of all his possessions before being placed in his cell by three officers. According to jail documents, all three “did not notice” Goldson carrying a bed sheet. Only twenty-five minutes later, Goldson was discovered hanging from his cell’s sprinkler head.

In light of a letter received four days prior, Goldson’s mother was confused at her son’s apparent suicide. Goldman had expressed his readiness to serve his sentence and return back home.

“Im just writin you to tell you I love you…I’m going to miss you both and Im prayin you are still around when I get out because I don’t want to loose my mom while im in jail, (sic)” Goldson wrote.

Goldson’s mother grew more suspicious once the results of her son’s autopsy were released, revealing his death to be murder by strangulation, not suicide.

“Both Goldson’s toilet and bed were 12 feet from the center of his cell,” WCPO 9 explained. “If Goldson were standing on either of these objects, his reach would have to be a little more than 8 and a half feet in order to touch the sprinkler — that would require a 7.1 degree leaning tilt while pivoting at the ankle.”

“That is the maximum point where the center of gravity of a 6-foot-1 person would approximately be…before falling down without something to hold on to in order to prevent falling down,” the coroner stated in her report. “It would be physically impossible for (Goldson) to reach the sprinkler…”

Coincidentally, when investigators attempted to obtain jail surveillance video, footage from one of the area’s three motion-activated cameras was deleted. According to the coroner, video of Goldson moments before his death was removed by one of the sheriffs.

Chief Deputy J.K. Schadle immediately refuted the coroner’s claims, alleging her findings were “politically motivated” and not supported by facts.

“The Brown County Sheriff’s Office contacted BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation) upon the discovery of an in-custody death…The (sheriff’s office) has full confidence that BCI will reach their conclusions based on facts, not someone’s political agenda,” Schadle said.

Schadle remains confident that the BCI’s report will rule out homicide as the cause of death.

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About Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is an investigative journalist covering foreign policy, information security and digital surveillance. His reports have been cited by sites such as the New York Times, Computerworld, International Business Times and the Drudge Report. How to contact Mikael securely:

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  1. Glad he caught this. Hopefully the IA will et involved now and bring these killers to justice

    • Caught? It's becoming evident that it wasn't a suicide. No one has been caught yet.

      • Caught** on camera

      • The corner caught this and ruled it a homicide. Maybe you should not comment when you don’t understand

        • I read and understand the story. The death was ruled a homicide, but the murderer has been 'caught' yet. What's wrong and why did you use a guest profile? Are you just not sure how to use that pic on your regular profiles again?

          • I never said the killer was caught.

            The corner caught the fact that this was not suicide and ruled it a homicide.

            Pretty simple to understand my comment for anyone with any brains…………………no wonder you failed to understand what I was saying

          • Yes, the death was ruled a homicide and there was nobody caught.
            Caught is a pretty specific word. Pretty simple to understand you were really kind of vague using words that didn't fit the sentence very well.

          • I never said anyone was caught. "Glad he caught THIS" is pretty simple to understand. But of course you are just here to troll and not discuss stories.

          • Yes, a vague answer from a tiny little man.
            All because you wanted to get into your agenda as quickly as possible.

          • My agenda? I am glad the coronor caught this and hopefully the killer or killers will be brought to justice. So you hate that my agenda is cathicing killers?

          • Cathicing killers?

            How does that turn into an attack on my religion pray tell?

          • you idiot….that was a typo. he was trying to write catching killers.

          • Thank you

          • Wee, you just can't keep up, can you?

          • Wee, you were having a bad day. All those typos, it's as if you just can't keep up with things on this forum.

            Why are you here?

          • Nope it was a good day.

            Why do you stalk me?

          • Wee it is a forum for debate and discussion.

            That includes responses, even to your propaganda points.

          • Well respond and move on. You don't do that though. You insult and attack and then claim everyone else is doing it. When you are proven wrong you use the report button and have the comment pulled like the coward you are.

          • Poor little Wee. Does that mean you are going to call in another 15 trolls to derail the site and attack it due to it's 'pro-western' thinking?

          • I don't "call in" anyone, you sure do like to lie though. Another one of the teachings of jesus you fail to follow. I likw this site and most of the articles. You are the wrecking it

          • Poor little 'wee' fella.

            So much anger and frustration. Defending my values, and the values of the authors here isn't 'wrecking' the site unless you view your anti-western' thinking as a solution to anything.

          • The authors here don't need you to defend them. So quit pretending you defend anything. You can defend your anti-American values all you want, you only make yourself look bad. I agree with almost every article on here and you attack me. Why are you so angry and frustrated all the time? Because I expose you for the extremist you are

          • And everyone else here doesn't need you here to attack them and pretend facts aren't actually facts.

            And you make all muslim loyal trolls look militant and rigid while incapable of understanding 'pro-western' thinking.

          • I have not attacked anyone on here but you because you attacked me first Another lie.That is 3 lies in a row I caught you in

          • Wee, you poor little fella.

            Still making claims like that? Since you have no clear understanding of my religion you don't get to tell me how I should follow that faith.

          • My comment did not say anything about religion. Please try and keep up.

          • Poor little wee.
            Such a small little 'wee' thing.

            You do look militant. Just because you want to attack doesn't mean it has any credibility.

          • So you change the subject again?

            How troll of you

          • Still pretending that you have pretenses of adequacy?

            Wee, you small little man. How many trolls do you want to call in, I'll still keep up with all of them.

          • Why do you keep changing the subject?

            Keep up? Oh you mean stalk them

          • Poor little wee.

            You just keep lashing out. Do you think that makes you look brave to the other trolls you have helping you here this morning?

          • Of course he was murdered.
            All cops,ALL COPS are liars and murderers and all of them must be exterminated.

          • That may be a little extreme

          • Whether it's extreme or not, justice should apply to everyone equally.

            In this case it didn't. A man is dead, and until law enforcement polices itself they deserve a bad rap.

          • I agree!!

          • Poor little man. Are you so lowered that you had to call in alinsky to back you up this morning?

            Poor marxist pajama boy has used at least three names today trying to keep you from falling flat. It hasn't worked, but he's trying.

          • One more comment designed to stop debate and derail the discussion

            Why are you here?

          • Wee, the comments I posted while you were away from your work terminal speak for themselves. The ones you haven't had pulled that is.

            Debate, you and your troll friends here to destroy the site never have figured out actual debate.

          • Yeah they sure do. Nothing but attacks on here against Alinsky and Patriot. Very trollish of you.

            YOU have had 7 of mine comments pulled today. Yeah I am keeping track

          • Wee, you really are a small little man.
            And you've reported and pulled more than that, then called in alinsky since you were floundering so badly.

            Yeah, I keep track too.

          • How many did I have pulled then? I see you did not have a number. So you must not be keeponhg track (another lie). I don't call in anyone( another lie) Thou shall not lie

          • Wee, still trying to derail the thread and stop debate?

            You just can't stand not going unopposed while attacking a site with the regular trolls behind you.

          • I just caught you in two lies and you change the subject

          • Still lame and making claims that aren't true?

            Wee, you just aren't up to this.

            I could claim I caught you at 84 lies. But why bother? Wee, you small little man. How many other troll friends are you going to call in?

          • But I showed were you lied. If you weren't lying you would have an answer

          • All you showed it that you tried to bait me and I didn't go there.

            It must be hard being so small minded.

          • Because you don't track. Simple as that. You lied

          • Wee, what's wrong. Are the other trolls realizing what a failure you are at pushing your agenda?

          • Change the subject again I see. I have you on the run now

          • Pot, meet kettle.

            Wee, you aren't up to this.

          • You are the one changing the subject when you get called out. You are not up to this

          • Wee, for you to call anyone out on changing the subject is a 'jump the shark' moment.

          • Well I just did

          • And it had no credibility since you derail everything you post on.

  2. No peace. No Justice. Pray for the family to recieve swift justice for their family tree losing a branch~

  3. I am well aware how officers stage SUICIDES'. My son, Joshua, 19, was found dead in Amsler Park/McGregor, Tx, on Feb. 16, 2006. (Joshua Robinson) Attached documents, including a 'hanging' picture (on his knees).
    The Medical Examiner ruled, solely, on 3 statements of an inept detective.
    Four of the five officers, on scene, resigned 3 months after Josh's death.

  4. Did the Communists Secretly Win the Cold War? A listener question generates an interesting discussion. Also are government intrusions really worse now than during the first and second Red Scares? With Gardner Goldsmith

  5. isn't there a camera in that cell? isn't that standard procedure?

    • "Coincidentally, when investigators attempted to obtain jail surveillance video, footage of Goldson moments before his death appeared to be deleted."………..HOW CONVENIENT .

      • For info there are not cameras in the cells due to peoples rights. Any videos that would be able to be recovered would only be in the hallways, booking area and the pods(areas with cells in them). This is the same as a store putting cameras in their bathrooms it can't be done.

  6. Another murder for the gang in blue, yet another violation of our rights. The gov’t constantly violates our rights.

    They violate the 1st Amendment by caging protesters and banning books like "America Deceived II".

    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by allowing TSA to grope you.

    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars.

    Impeach Obama.

    Last link of "America Deceived II" before it is completely banned:

  7. How long before tens of millions of armed citizens, when seeing the cops coming just start shooting and consider it self defense?

  8. Criminal is as Criminal does. Ohio is not competing with Texas and New Jersey in criminal police activities.

  9. It appears to me he was firing a weapon while intoxicated across a road. If he would have put a round in your daughter's or Mother's head you would be singing a different tune. Look on the bright side, one less POS running around. Those Rodney King videos were detrimental to law enforcement. However, bad cops do bad things. But in their defense, there are so many liars and thieves and asocial people out there that most of "decent" society doesn't come in contact with. Someday you will, and if your not smart enough to get away, be prepared to defend yourself and your family. 911 can't help you.

  10. bad cops do bad things. But in their defense

  11. Hopefully the IA will et involved now and bring these killers to justice

  12. I was in a county jail. I was hired as a trustee as my allegedly crime was minor. The kitchen is across the hall for the stairs that go up to the second floor, warden.
    The trustee's and I seen [It's spelled something like this] Clemanns go up the stairs with a CO. When you see an inmate go up them stairs, the inmate is an informant, rat ect. They released him. Not even two days later, while working in the kitchen, all the trustee's, county's jail kitchen supervisor and I heard over the stereo radio Clemanns passed away. Word gets around quick in the jail. Clemanns had an uncle in the same jail, he found out by intermediate family that Clemanns had hung his self.

    You see where this is going?

  13. My son is in grate danger since he is been restricted to call to have visits and i sow him foe about 3 minutes as he said mom help me they are traying to hung me constanrly they send another inmtes to attack him he has to figth he said they are forcing me to kill my self if i don do it they will do it i any one can help my son is had autisim asberger syndrom and been wating for 25 monts to have a trial i am praying to find some one some werw so save my son's life

    Making complains and report had
    Him in a worst position
    Theyr report hd official titles and they can desapear any evidence they want or manipulate the evidence at their discretion and it is official title

    And everything has the JUDEGE aproval

  14. I’m so glad I found my solution online.

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  17. Thanks. I can see this a being useful.

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