Guilty verdict rendered in 2013 stabbing case
Jury convicts on all assault and drug charges after trial last week
Photo courtesy VPD
Robert Goldstein at the time of his 2013 arrest.
A Valdez Superior Court jury convicted Robert Goldstein, age 36, on assault and drug charges last week, dismissing testimony by the defendant he acted in self-defense when he stabbed his victim outside of a bar in August of 2013.
Sentencing is set for January of 2015.
The trial began Tuesday, and ran through Friday afternoon, when the jury returned with the verdicts on four counts of assault and one count of possession of methamphetamine, all felonies.
Goldstein took the stand in his own defense Friday, offering the only evidence of self-defense presented during the trial.
Goldstein was arrested in August of 2013, after police responded to a report of a stabbing outside the Gold Rush Saloon.
When police arrived, Goldstein was being held down by the bar's bouncer, while the blood-covered victim, Corie Taylor, yelled for helped after being stabbed several times while urinating outside the establishment.
Valdez police officer Jess Gondek testified that when police responded to the report of the stabbing, they arrived to a chaotic scene.
"It was a hectic scene, I'd say," Gondek testified, a statement later backed up when the court played the police audio recorded during the response. "There was a man running around saying he'd been stabbed."
Police later tasered Taylor, who was combative despite suffering injuries that included a punctured lung, ostensibly to render medical aid.
Taylor testified earlier during the trial that he believed Goldstein was after revenge for a 2012 incident where Taylor had punched Goldstein and threw him off the dock.
Taylor, who was also in police custody on a different charge at the time of his testimony, served several months in jail after pleading "no contest" to charges related to the 2012 case.
Taylor told the jury his 2012 assault against Goldstein was the result of "Me, being drunk and stupid."
Goldstein took the stand to testify that Taylor attacked him again before he stabbed him outside the bar in August of 2013.
The drama in the court was not always the result of evidence and witness testimony.
Dr. Kathy Todd was on the stand Thursday morning when a sizeable earthquake shook through Valdez, causing a stir in the courtroom, especially amongst the spectators.
Later that day, before closing arguments by the prosecutor and defense, the court was notified by a third-party individual that one of the female jurors may have been talking about the trial in a public restroom at the state building where the trial was being held.
"The information we have is not enough to burn the barn down," Judge Dan Schally said before it was determined there had been no juror misconduct.
The court sprang into action to track down the source of the information. It took several hours to determine that no jury instructions that require that jurors not talk about the trial had been breached.
Jurors are free to talk about the trial only after it is over.
Goldstein showed little emotion after the verdicts of guilty were read for all four assault charges and one count of misconduct involving a controlled substance.
He was taken into custody in the court by police, as his bail was revoked at the time of his conviction.
"Mr. Goldstein will be remaining in custody," Schally said after the verdict.
Assistant Prosecutor Eric Senta said he was glad justice was served.
Goldstein's defense attorney, Andrew Weinraub, said he was disappointed in the verdict, but did not believe that that the fact his client took the stand in his own defense was a mistake.
"They obviously did not think it was persuasive," he said about Goldstein's testimony that he stabbed Taylor in self defense and found him guilty.