Portfolio at center of pending trial of woman charged with RB man’s death
By Kelly Wheeler
SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A prosecutor urged a judge Thursday to release a financial portfolio filed in Superior Court by the former attorney for a caretaker accused of killing an 89-year-old Rancho Bernardo man and draining his bank accounts of more than $500,000.
Denise Michelle Goodwin, 46, is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain in the death of Gerald Eugene Rabourn, who disappeared in October 2010. His body has not been found.
Goodwin’s former attorney, Deputy Public Defender Terry Zimmerman, filed the portfolio in San Diego Superior Court in April.
Deputy District Attorney Bill Mitchell told Judge Charles Rogers Thursday that prosecutors are entitled to look at the portfolio before trial, scheduled for Sept. 9.
It is not known how Zimmerman got the portfolio, which was not originally recovered by police and is thought to contain Rabourn’s trust papers and documents showing how Goodwin allegedly converted the victim’s assets into her own, Mitchell said.
Rogers — denying a defense claim that Zimmerman was ineffective counsel for Goodwin — scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, at which Zimmerman is expected to assert the attorney-client privilege in refusing to answer specific questions about the contents of the portfolio.
It was not clear if Zimmerman had looked in the portfolio before filing it with the court.
“Ms. Zimmerman had a legal duty to turn the portfolio over,” Rogers said. “We don’t even know how she got it.”
Goodwin was hired through a senior service agency to care for Rabourn’s 91-year-old wife, Carolyn, who died of cancer on Sept. 29, 2010. At Goodwin’s arraignment in August 2011, the prosecution alleged that Rabourn trusted Goodwin with all his assets, and within days of his wife’s death, the defendant began converting those assets for her own personal use.
Goodwin allegedly dissuaded family members from contacting police by giving them inconsistent reports regarding Rabourn’s whereabouts after his wife’s death.
Police said there was an abrupt end to Rabourn’s family contacts, cell phone use and financial activity after Oct. 21, 2010.
Mary Weaver, Rabourn’s daughter from his first marriage, testified during the defendant’s preliminary hearing that she tried in October 2010 to convince her father to move to the Midwest, but he said “he was planning to live with Denise.”
Weaver said an attorney she spoke with told her that her father and Goodwin had come to his office to change his will, but the attorney reassured Weaver that Goodwin couldn’t get any of her father’s money.
She said she last spoke to her father on Oct. 19, 2010, but didn’t report him missing until the following February, when she didn’t get a birthday card from him.
Goodwin was arrested in July 2011 as she boarded a plane for a European vacation. She has been held at the Las Colinas Detention Facility without bail since July 12, 2011, according to jail records.
A defense motion to dismiss charges was denied last week. If convicted, Goodwin faces life in prison without parole.
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