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Ex-cop pleads guilty to federal charge related to Breonna Taylor's killing


A former Louisville detective has admitted that she falsified the search warrant that led to the police killing of Breonna Taylor and lied to investigators about it afterwards.


Kelly Goodlett pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge in Louisville, Ky. She is one of four white former police officers charged in the case. Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old Black woman, and her killing helped set off a wave of protests over police brutality all across this country and beyond in 2020.

MARTINEZ: Billy Kobin of The Courier-Journal has been covering this story. He joins us now from Louisville. Billy, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police in 2020. Tell us what was learned in court and what's happening with this case.

BILLY KOBIN: Sure. Yesterday, Kelly Hanna Goodlett pleaded guilty, as y'all said. And basically, it was a pretty standard hearing in which she was expected to plead guilty, and that's what she did. As she appeared, she mostly answered questions from the judge yesterday in federal court, saying, you know, yes, your honor, and yes, ma'am, in terms of understanding the charges against her.

And then the prosecution with the Department of Justice laid out, again, some of the facts, which are that she helped basically lie on a search warrant that was obtained to search Breonna Taylor's apartment in March of 2020 and that she then worked with another detective at the time to kind of come up with a story that they would tell investigators that was false to connect Breonna to a former boyfriend who had been convicted of drug dealing. And that's how officers kind of got the way in to her apartment.

MARTINEZ: Billy, what was the courtroom like? You were in there. I mean, what was the reaction of Breonna Taylor's mom?

KOBIN: Sure. Tamika Palmer, who is Breonna's mom, was there. But I would say it was very - there was not much reaction yesterday inside the federal courtroom. It's usually very, you know, protected. Nobody is allowed to have phones. Nobody is really allowed to, you know, shout, whereas sometimes in state court hearings, you might - you have people with phones, and you might hear more gasps and reactions. So it was very kind of muted and serious and kind of straightforward. And then after the hearing, Ms. Palmer did not come outside immediately to talk with any reporters. No attorneys came outside. So it was very kind of a faster hearing yesterday and then no real reaction afterwards.

Ms. Palmer was wearing a shirt that said say her name on the back. And she later did post on her Instagram feed a photo of Goodlett, the detective, that basically said, Kelly Hanna Goodlett pleads guilty to federal charge. But that was about it as way of reaction yesterday.

MARTINEZ: You mentioned Goodlett. What's in store for her and the other officers charged in this case?

KOBIN: Sure. So the judge and prosecutors and defense agreed yesterday to schedule a sentencing hearing for November. However, the judge said that the hearing for Ms. Goodlett is likely to get delayed, given that there are several detectives who are also obviously charged - and officers, I should say. The other sentencing hearings are currently scheduled for October, but those also could get delayed, given the complexity of the different cases. So we'll have to wait and see what happens there.

MARTINEZ: That's Billy Kobin of The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Billy, thanks.

KOBIN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.