A Williamsport man received a lengthy prison sentence after he killed his 22-year-old girlfriend and then hid the body in a closet for several weeks in July of 2015.
President Judge Nancy Butts sentenced 35-year-old Hasan Gooden-Reid to 30-60 years in state prison in Lycoming County Court on Thursday, June 9th. He had pleaded guilty to murder prior to his sentencing.
Kristina Pope was 22 when she was killed by Gooden-Reid on July 7th. Gooden-Reid entered his apartment located on Sherman Street’s 1600 block where Pope was sitting in the living room. According to Gooden-Reid, water was running on the floor due to a broken toilet and his cell phone had been smashed. According to what Gooden-Reid said to the court, he was angry with Pope and she tried to exit the apartment but he would not let her leave. Pope grabbed a pair of scissors and the two struggled. Gooden-Reid got the scissors from Pope and she began choking him while they were both on the couch. According to Gooden-Reid, he stabbed her between four and five times on the left side below her armpit.
After Gooden-Reid stabbed Pope, he moved the body to the bed in his bedroom and covered it up. He told the court he was afraid to call the police the night he killed Pope. At some point, he moved the body to a closet. The body was in the apartment for around three weeks when the Lycoming County Housing Authority instructed him to leave so the apartment could be fumigated as people were complaining about the smell as well as insects. According to Agent Raymond O. Kontz III in an affidavit, Gooden-Reid said the smell was because of clothes that were moldy and wet as well as a toilet that had been broken for three weeks. Gooden-Reid left the apartment and came back later that night. At that time, he moved the body to the trash can outside. According to Gooden-Reid, he put the body on the grass beside the trash can. He told the court that because of the smell, he “didn’t know what else to do”. On July 28th, a member of the Lycoming County Housing Authority found what was a jaw bone within a trashcan and police were called to the scene. Gooden-Reid has been in prison without bail since July 28th.
Gooden-Reid was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. According to what he told the court, he did not take his medication for a year prior to killing Pope. He was declared competent to stand trial in March. In court, Gooden-Reid said that “[Pope] was my girlfriend and I loved her. It broke my heart.” He said that when he killed Pope, “[He] was in a state of rage.” He also said he knew his actions were wrong and that at the time of the murder, “[He] wasn’t in [his] right state of mind”.
Gooden-Reid’s prison sentence was for the following charges: third-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, and obstructing the administration of the law. District Attorney Eric Linhardt, Gooden-Reid said that because of Gooden-Reid’s mental illness, he was not capable of “a specific intent to kill” so a first-degree murder charge could not be pursued. According to Linhardt, the sentence Gooden-Reid received was the maximum required by law. Kimberly Pope-Seiberling, who is Pope’s aunt, had asked that Gooden-Reid receive the maximum sentence.
Gooden-Reid said he “want[s] to start [his] life over again.” According to Lindhardt, Gooden-Reid will be eligible for parole when he reaches 65 years of age. However, Lindhardt doesn’t believe he will be paroled at that time because of “the violent nature of the offense”. A family friend of Pope, Dianna Coules, said the following in the courtroom, “She died too young and sadly at the hands of someone she thought loved her… People deserve second chances, but not today. The community will never be safe with you in it.”