In newly unsealed court documents, former Louisville police Det. Kelly Goodlett admitted that the search warrant application for Breonna Taylor’s apartment included numerous falsehoods and misleading statements. Prosecutors also allege that another officer hid information that Taylor’s boyfriend could be in the apartment and armed, which had implications for the warrant application and officer safety.
The new details surrounding the deadly raid on Taylor’s home in March 2020 come from an attachment to the plea agreement Goodlett signed in court last month. The addendum provides the factual basis for Goodlett’s guilty plea on a felony conspiracy charge, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Goodlett is expected to work with federal prosecutors in their case against former Det. Joshua Jaynes and Sgt. Kyle Meany, who face multiple charges related to the search warrant application.
In 2019 and early 2020, Goodlett and Jaynes both worked for the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Place-Based Investigations Unit, which was focused on interrupting drug trafficking and violent crime. According to the plea agreement, the two officers frequently partnered on investigations, and Meany was the unit’s supervisor.
The primary focus of Goodlett and Jaynes at that time was an investigation into Jamarcus Glover, a suspected drug dealer and Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. Once, in January 2020, the two detectives say they saw Glover retrieve a package from Taylor’s apartment.
Prosecutors say Goodlett and Jaynes had a “gut feeling” they would find drugs or cash in Taylor’s apartment, but lacked any factual basis for getting a search warrant. Jaynes then asked another officer, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, to use his contacts in the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office to confirm Glover was getting suspicious packages delivered to Taylor’s home.
Despite being told “there’s nothing there,” according to court documents, Jaynes wrote in the search warrant application that he “had verified from a Postal Inspector that [Glover] was receiving packages at that address.” Goodlett was responsible for fact-checking the application, but did not push Jaynes to include the information that contradicted their claims.
“Det. Goodlett had been ostracized early in her career for attempting to report a fellow officer’s use of excessive force, so she decided not to call Det. Jaynes out on this lie, as Det. Jaynes was the lead detective on the case,” prosecutors wrote in the plea agreement.
The claims about Glover receiving packages at Taylor’s home were not the only false or misleading details included in the search warrant application.
Jaynes and Goodlett also wrote that Glover was making “frequent trips” to Taylor’s apartment, but detectives had only witnessed that happen one time. Goodlett added a paragraph claiming that Jaynes had verified from a law enforcement database that Glover was using Taylor’s Springfield Drive apartment as his current home address “to make the warrant appear fresher.”
“Det. Goodlett and Det. Jaynes both knew at the time that this was misleading because [Glover] did not, in fact, live at Taylor’s apartment,” the plea agreement states. “Det. Goodlett also knew that Det. Jaynes prepared another affidavit … in which he stated that he ‘believes that [the address on] Cathe Dykstra is the main residence for [Glover].’”
The detectives had requested a no-knock search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, claiming in the affidavit that “these drug traffickers have a history of attempting to destroy evidence, have cameras on the location … and a have [sic] history of fleeing from law enforcement.” Goodlett said she knew this was misleading because they had no factual basis to believe that Taylor was a drug trafficker or had any cameras at her apartment.
The plea agreement states Jaynes took the search warrant application to Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mary Shaw because he believed she “would not closely scrutinize his warrants.” Shaw denied knowing Jaynes or Goodlett in a statement to WDRB on Tuesday.
In announcing the indictments last month, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland argued that the actions of Jaynes, Goodlett and Meany in securing the search warrant led directly to Taylor’s death during the middle-of-the-night raid on her home on March 13, 2020.
“Jaynes and Meany knew the search warrant would be carried out by armed LMPD officers and that conducting that search could create a dangerous situation for anyone who happened to be in Ms. Taylor’s home,” Garland said.
Prosecutors also allege in the plea agreement that Meany conducted surveillance on Taylor’s apartment just one day before the search warrant application was submitted to Shaw. Meany observed that Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was at the apartment and had a license to carry a concealed firearm.
They say Meany failed to disclose that information to the court, which would have undermined claims that Glover was still frequenting Taylor’s home. He also hid it from his fellow officers, despite the fact that the potential presence of an armed individual would have made the operation more risky.
Though the three LMPD detectives applied for the no-knock warrant, it was a different set of officers who actually conducted the raid. Those officers claimed that they knocked and announced themselves that night.
Walker was in the apartment and said he didn’t hear any announcement. Later saying he thought they were intruders, Walker shot once at police as they attempted to break down Taylor’s front door. Officers returned fire, shooting and killing Taylor in her hallway.
The killing of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and emergency medical technician, fueled racial justice protests in Louisville and across the country. It also sparked media scrutiny of LMPD’s actions, during the raid and leading up to it.
When WDRB reported in May 2020 that the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office in Louisville had told police Glover was not receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment, Jaynes requested Goodlett meet him in his garage.
“At the garage meeting, Det. Jaynes told Det. Goodlett that they needed to get on the same page because if he went down, so to speak, for the Springfield Drive warrant, she would go down too,” prosecutors wrote.
According to court documents, Jaynes and Goodlett agreed to repeat the false and misleading information included in the search warrant application to federal investigators and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.
After pleading guilty to felony conspiracy, Goodlett is now set to be sentenced in November. It’s likely, however, that the sentencing will be pushed back, especially if Goodlett testifies against her former partner and supervisor.
Jaynes and Meany are facing a total of four charges, including obstruction, conspiracy and civil rights violations. A jury trial is currently scheduled to start on Oct. 11.
The DOJ separately indicted former LMPD Det. Brett Hankison on two civil rights charges for allegedly using unjustified and unconstitutional excessive force during the raid on Taylor’s apartment. Prosecutors allege Hankison fired his gun through a covered window and patio door, endangering Taylor and the lives of her neighbors.
A jury trial in Hankison’s case is currently set for Oct. 13, although it’s likely to be pushed back.