GOSHEN — Instead of starting a murder trial, the man charged with fatally stabbing Michael Kohus in the produce aisle at the Vails Gate ShopRite will get a new lawyer.
Prosecutors say Kohus, 35, of Highland Falls, was standing in the produce section at the grocery store on June 11, 2016, when Andrew Goodenough, a stranger to him, approached from behind and stabbed him, unprovoked, with a folding utility-style knife.
Monday had been scheduled for the start of jury selection in Orange County Court for Goodenough's second-degree murder trial. Instead, Judge Craig Brown had to relieve the Legal Aid Society of Orange County of their representation of the New Windsor man after prosecutors learned of new witnesses to what they say is relevant prior conduct by Goodenough.
The Legal Aid Society of Orange County has represented Goodenough, 45, since the start of the case, through competency proceedings and forensic psychiatric assessments, and has been planning an insanity defense based on Goodenough’s lengthy history of mental illness.
Prosecutors have contended that Goodenough was legally sane, capable of appreciating right and wrong, when he attacked Kohus. They’ve sought to introduce evidence of Goodenough using drugs as part of their theory of the case, arguing that he cannot invoke insanity as a defense if he voluntarily ingests street drugs that trigger his illness.
Late last week, prosecutors found new witnesses through the ongoing investigation for trial prep. Legal Aid had represented at least one witness prosecutors consider key to the case, creating a conflict for the indigent defense organization.
Brown removed Legal Aid, and will appoint a new lawyer to take over Goodenough’s defense.