After leaving a life of crime and turning his life around, a Georgia man was arrested and charged with murder after his mistress was found fatally strangled and burned in a park. Now, the former motivational speaker stands trial for the murder of his 26-year-old lover.
In 2014, Charmane Goins, 39, was arrested for killing his mistress Lauren Taylor, whose body was found in a Gwinnett County Park, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The trial for Goins, who was charged with murder, felony murder and aggravated assault, began Tuesday afternoon. In the courtroom, jurors viewed images of the deceased 26-year-old. Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Daryl Mans warned the jurors the images would make them “stay up at night.”
Additionally, Mans argued that Goins told a friend he “had to get rid of” Lauren Taylor before her body was found.
According to Mans’s remarks, Goins viciously strangled Taylor, poured gasoline on her corpse and lit it on fire in Deshong Park. Cellphone records indicated Goins’s cellphone pinged down the road, where he allegedly picked up Taylor. Mans and the prosecution team also said DNA evidence will show Taylor’s hairs were found in Goins’s truck.
Although Goins's defense attorney Wanda Jackson presented another man to the jury whom she suggested may be the killer, he has not been charged nor identified in connection with the case.
Jackson described Taylor as a transient who lived with the unidentified man and his wife for about a month before they kicked her out. When Taylor’s body was found, the man Jackson suggested allegedly smelled of gasoline and had scratches on his hands. The man reportedly told police that the scratches and the gas smell were both from his job.
“If you’re choking someone, it’s reasonable to have scratches on your hands,” Jackson said in her opening statement.
When it comes to Goins, the suspected murderer was a former member of the Gangster Disciples street gang who served 15 years in prison for an armed robbery, reported Times Free Press. After he was released, Goins opened his own restaurant, where he worked until it closed. He then joined the staff of the non-profit organization Launch and became part of the Violence Reduction Initiative in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Goins’s trial will continue through the week.
(Photo from left: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, Willis Funeral Home)