Catherine Joann Goins, 39, entered a guilty plea on Friday in the Superior Court for Catoosa County before Judge Ralph Van Pelt to the offenses of malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping. Ms. Goins was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prior to the murder, Ms. Goins had attempted to arrange meetings with women who had infant children under the pretense of providing baby clothes.
Ms. Goins had posted ads on Craigslist for this purpose. Ms. Goins also falsely claimed to be pregnant and wore a prosthetic pregnancy belly to pass as being pregnant. Ms. Goins was trolling to steal a baby, District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin said.
On Sept. 19, 2014, Ms. Goins met Natalia Roberts, a young mother of two children. Ms. Goins invited Ms. Roberts to a residence in Catoosa County with the offer to give her baby clothes. After the two entered the residence, Ms. Goins directed Ms. Roberts to go down a narrow stairwell and then shot Ms. Roberts in the back of the head with a .380 caliber pistol as she descended, killing Ms. Roberts instantly. After killing Ms. Roberts, Ms. Goins stole her vehicle and took Ms. Roberts’ two children away from the residence for a brief period of time but ultimately returned. Upon returning to the residence, Ms. Goins attempted to clean up the crime scene.
Ms. Goins initially told investigators with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that she killed Ms. Roberts in self-defense as Ms. Roberts was burglarizing the residence. The forensic evidence at the scene contradicted this claim, authorities said. Ms. Goins’ later confessed to Detective Daniel Thacker of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office that the self-defense claim was untrue.
Ms. Goins was represented by Jerilyn Bell and Crystal Bice of the Public Defender’s Capital Defender Office.
The case was prosecuted by Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Franklin, Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Allen Arnt, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Alan C. Norton.