Group protests judge's not guilty verdict in Powhatan stabbing

Updated: Apr. 7, 2017 at 5:46 PM EDT
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POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - Protesters march on the Powhatan courthouse demanding justice after a judge finds a man not guilty in a recent stabbing.

Norris Goode Jr. survived being stabbed in the head, but after one suspect was acquitted in the case, demonstrators fear Goode will never get justice.

The case now has the attention of the Virginia NAACP, along with upset members of the Powhatan community. They say that law enforcement and the prosecutor did their job, but Powhatan Judge Paul Cella did not.

Several dozen peacefully marched half a mile from the Hollywood Baptist Church on Old Buckingham Road to the Powhatan courthouse. It was all to support Norris Goode Jr., who marched in the front with his family.

"I trusted the justice system," he said. "I trusted my county. The county I loved and lived in."

Last year, Norris Jr. survived being stabbed in the the arm and the head - where the blade actually broke off. It was a fight over fishing at a pond on Huguenot Springs Road, where the victim says he had permission to fish. Two brothers, Jesse Ray and Jacob Moore, who do not own the property, were charged. Last month, Powhatan Judge Paul Cella found Jesse Ray not guilty.

"There was a mountain of evidence that was disregarded!" says Norris Goode Sr. "I have a problem with that!"

Norris Jr. says he wasn't trying to make this case about race but said, "On March 15, this past month, this case became an issue of discrimination, racial injustice and illegal lynching, where my black life was devalued in a court system compared to the life of a Caucasian man," he said.

His family is by his side. "This is why Norris lived," says his mother, Rebecca Parker. "To speak for those who didn't live and to identify and break down failing justice systems, especially for the black men all over this land."

The Virginia NAACP is now paying attention to the case.

"Write Congressman McEachin, Senator Warner, Senator Kaine, and ask them for a federal investigation for what's going on here in this county!" says Phillip Thompson, the Loudoun County NAACP president. "Bring the federal government in, if the locals can't do the job."

The brother, Jacob Moore, goes on trial June 5. NBC12 reached out to Jesse Ray Moore's attorney, who said they did not want to comment on the case. Cella's office also declined comment.


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