Intending to kill his ex, Chicago man mistakenly murdered someone else, then tried to hire someone to finish the job: prosecutors

CHICAGO — Prosecutors say a Chicago man broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home intending to kill her as she slept, but he mistakenly killed a 17-year-old girl who happened to be staying in the woman’s home. After botching the murder, Steven Goodman allegedly tried to hire someone to kill his ex-girlfriend for him.

“The only appropriate bail is no bail,” Judge Maryam Ahmad stated before sheriff’s deputies led Goodman, 37, out of the courtroom.

Prosecutor Karin Swanson explained that Goodman’s long-time girlfriend, the mother of four of his children, broke up with him early this year, sparking a series of incidents in which Goodman repeatedly let himself into the woman’s apartment using a spare key.

She moved to get an order of protection and, scared by his behavior, started sleeping at a neighbor’s home, said Swanson.

On February 28, the night before Goodman and the woman were scheduled to appear in court via Zoom to address the order of protection, the woman’s 17-year-old niece, Deshawnay Yoakum, asked to stay at her home because she had an argument with her mother.

The woman agreed to let Yoakum sleep in her apartment, explaining that she was still sleeping at the neighbor’s due to Goodwin’s conduct, Swanson continued.

At about 3:34 a.m. the next day, the woman was awakened by gunshots. But she brushed it off as thunder and went back to sleep. During the Zoom hearing hours later, the woman became concerned because she had not heard from Yoakum, so she went to her apartment to check on her.

She found the girl lying behind the door of her bedroom with a gunshot wound to her head, Swanson said. Yoakum was hospitalized and succumbed to her injuries on March 11, two days after her 18th birthday.

Yoakum was a high school senior and had performed six times in the Bud Billiken Parade, the Chicago Tribune reported in March.

Investigators learned that Goodman’s car had broken down sometime before the shooting, and he had been getting around in a delivery truck borrowed from his employer, Swanson explained. She said the truck’s GPS showed it left Goodman’s home shortly before the murder, stopped about a block from his ex’s apartment around 3 a.m., and left the area after the shooting.

Someone covered up a video camera inside the truck, she said, but microphones recorded Goodman’s voice inside the vehicle a couple of hours after the shooting.

Steven Goodman | Chicago Police Department

On June 25, an Illinois State Police trooper pulled Goodman over for speeding and found a loaded handgun under his driver’s seat, according to Swanson. Prosecutors charged him with unlawful use of a weapon, and police sent the gun out for forensic testing. Those tests showed a “high correlation” between the weapon and shell casings found at the murder scene, Swanson said.

After losing his gun to the state trooper, Goodman began looking for another one, Swanson said. He contacted an acquaintance in July and repeatedly asked for help getting a gun, according to Swanson.

Eventually, Goodman offered to pay the acquaintance to kill his ex for him, saying she was “f**king up my life” and he needed to “get rid of her,” Swanson alleged.

The acquaintance told police about Goodman’s behavior earlier this month. Cops arrested him on Thursday.

Assistant Public Defender Catherine Stockslager represented Goodman during his bail hearing on Sunday. She questioned whether the acquaintance who went to the police with the murder-for-hire allegations had ulterior motives. And she argued that, while prosecutors said video showed Goodman at his ex’s home multiple times in the weeks before the murder, they did not say he was seen on video at her home on the day of the murder.

She said he has eight children, is the sole caretaker for three of them, and coaches their youth sports teams.

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