A California child killer who reportedly beat his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son so badly he suffered dozens of traumatic injuries, broken bones and “pulverized” organs, is one step closer to walking free after state officials approved his parole despite a prosecutor’s pledge to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.
The only chance to uphold that vow is now in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Patrick Goodman, now 49, killed Elijah Sanderson in early December 2000. The medical examiner reportedly found that some of the injuries had been caused by swinging the child by his wrist into a wall repeatedly.
A parole hearing took place in December, where District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ office argued against Goodman’s release. Critics have become more vocal after the San Francisco Public Safety News site published the transcript Wednesday.
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“I hope that one day I will be able to show Elijah’s family, society and everyone who got caught in the ripple effect of my actions, that I’m no longer the monster that I used to be,” he reportedly told parole board commissioners at a Dec. 14 hearing.
Commissioners Michele Minor and Dane Blake decided to give him that chance.
“We find that Mr Goodman does not currently pose an unreasonable risk to public safety and is therefore suitable for parole,” Minor said after 15 minutes of deliberations following the hearing, SF Public Safety reported.
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State prison records show that, in May 2022, the parole board denied Goodman for at least three years. But last month, the board reversed course and granted him parole.
“This is the most heinous crime there is,” Britt Elmore, a former San Francisco Police officer, told Fox News Digital. “It’s on a child.”
He said he expects Newsom to overrule the parole board due to the facts of the case but urged the Democrat to take it one step further and launch a review into whether officials on the parole board are qualified to do their jobs.
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“See if they’re even fit to be in these hearings,” he said. “This is the worst of the worst, and this is supposed to be what the strictest of our laws are for.”
He noted that the 3-year-old victim was both helpless and “the most innocent victim” Goodman could have chosen.
“A lot of people put themselves in predicaments. … A child doesn’t make those decisions,” he said. “The child’s just put there.”
Jonathan Hatami, a district attorney candidate in Los Angeles County who has put thousands of child abusers behind bars, called the decision “horrific” and argued that people who victimize defenseless children are the worst criminals.
“I’ve tried numerous high-profile child murders,” he told Fox News Digital. “If you will murder a child, someone who is the most vulnerable in our society, you are a danger to our entire community.”
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He gained prominence with the Gabriel Fernandez case in 2013, which was later the subject of a Netflix docuseries. The 8-year-old was tortured and killed by his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre.
Last year, Hatami helped land sentences of life in prison without parole for the mother of Anthony Avalos, a 10-year-old killed after weeks of torture, and her boyfriend. He would have sought the death penalty if he had not been overruled by his boss, incumbent District Attorney George Gascón.
Heather Maxine Barron, 33, and her boyfriend Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 37, were convicted of murder and torture in March after a trial prosecutors called “nothing short of monstrous.”
“Someone who will murder a child has the capability to murder anyone,” he added. “Child murderers pose a serious danger to our community. Period.”
Hatami, a Democrat, is running to replace Gascón as the DA of Los Angeles.
In 2002, after Goodman’s sentencing, SFGate quoted Deputy District Attorney Bob Gordon as saying, “Justice was done in that the killer of this little child will spend the rest of his life in prison.”
But Goodman received a sentence of 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Whether he gets out now is in the hands of the governor’s office.
A spokesperson for Newsom said the case “will be reviewed carefully.”
The governor’s office also urges crime victims and survivors to sign up for the state’s victims services program.