The La Pine man who yelled a homophobic slur at downtown Bend protesters and was charged with assaulting one of them was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense, in part because the protester he attacked wanted to spare the community a divisive legal battle.
Darrell Shane Goddard, 38, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
For one count of second-degree criminal mischief, Goddard will serve 18 months probation, work 40 hours of community service, attend an anger management course and write a letter of apology to the community.
The latter condition was the idea of local activist Andrew Heller, whom Goddard yelled at July 11.
“He’s the reason this settled and didn’t go to trial,” District Attorney John Hummel told The Bulletin.
The incident was one of several flashpoints in a tense summer of COVID-19 and protests for racial justice that followed the murder of a Black man by police in Minneapolis.
Around 7:30 p.m. July 11, Goddard and another man, Robert John Thompson, drove by the 50 to 100 people protesting at the corner of NW Franklin Avenue and NW Wall Street. Goddard yelled a profane epithet at the entire group, according to court documents.
Heller biked after the Ford F-150 the men were in and at a nearby stoplight, he pulled alongside and asked Goddard why he’d said what he said, according to the prosecution Wednesday. This further angered Goddard, who “abruptly and intentionally” opened his door into Heller, knocking Heller to the ground and causing the bicycle to damage a nearby vehicle, the prosecution said.
Thompson got out of the other side of the vehicle armed with a handgun before he and Goddard drove off.
Officers with Bend Police Department caught up with Goddard and Thompson and cited both men with misdemeanors and did not take them into custody.
Goddard was later charged with fourth-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief.
Thompson, 50, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm and menacing.
Thompson pleaded guilty in September to one count of unlawful use of a weapon and was ordered to pay a $500 fine and forfeit his firearms.
Goddard, on the other hand, was committed to fighting the charges, Hummel said. The office refused to negotiate below an assault charge until Heller reached out with a proposed solution: If Goddard would accept responsibility for damaging the vehicle and write an apology, Heller would support a plea deal that did not include assault.
On Wednesday, Goddard pleaded guilty to one count of criminal mischief for damaging the car and agreed to pay $930 to its owner, Rona Campbell.
Goddard makes artisanal balsamic vinegars and olive oils. In December, the court approved his request to travel out of state to sell his products at trade shows around the country. He has one prior conviction from when he was 18 years old.
Under questioning from the judge, Goddard said he’s embarrassed by his actions on July 11 “24 hours a day.”
“My choice of words was not received the way I intended them. They were made out of frustration, not out of bias,” he said.
In a n interview with The Bulletin, Heller expressed skepticism with the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and said he hoped one day he and Goddard could shake hands and meet amicably.
“Basically, I don’t want my words used to be used to make somebody’s life worse,” he said.
Goddard was given 30 days to write the letter. Hummel said when his office receives it, he will put it online.