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Driver of transport in Freddie Gray case chooses trial by judge instead of jury

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The Baltimore police officer who drove the transport vehicle in Freddie Gray’s death and stands charged with murder has chosen a bench trial over a trial by jury.

Officer Caeser Goodson Jr. is the third officer to face trial for Gray’s death in which he suffered a broken neck while in custody. Neither of the first two officers have been found guilty, with the first officer having a mistrial and the second being found not guilty.

FILE - In this March 3, 2016, file photo, Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, leaves the Maryland Court of Appeals in Annapolis, Md. Prosecutors say Goodson, the driver of the transport wagon, is the most culpable in Gray's death, and that he was grossly negligent when he failed to buckle Gray into a seat belt and call for medical aid during Gray's ride. But with no eye witnesses and very little physical evidence, experts say the government could be facing an uphill battle. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
FILE – In this March 3, 2016, file photo, Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, leaves the Maryland Court of Appeals in Annapolis, Md. Prosecutors say Goodson, the driver of the transport wagon, is the most culpable in Gray’s death, and that he was grossly negligent when he failed to buckle Gray into a seat belt and call for medical aid during Gray’s ride. But with no eye witnesses and very little physical evidence, experts say the government could be facing an uphill battle. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Goodson’s decision to be judged by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams took place at today’s pre-trial hearing. Goodson’s choice follows that of officer Edward Nero, who was acquitted on all charges, and had opted for a bench trial by Judge Barry Williams as well.

The full list of charges Goodson faces include second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges in the death of Freddie Gray.

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