Crime

Jury finds handyman guilty of bookkeeper’s murder, abuse of her corpse

Paris Charles, now 60, left, was found guilty of murdering Goldia Massey, 50, and abusing her corpse. The jury recommended 35 years for the killing and a year for abuse of the corpse.
Paris Charles, now 60, left, was found guilty of murdering Goldia Massey, 50, and abusing her corpse. The jury recommended 35 years for the killing and a year for abuse of the corpse. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

A Fayette Circuit Court jury found Paris Charles guilty of murder and abuse of a corpse Wednesday in the 2014 death and dismemberment of Goldia Massey.

Charles, 60, a handyman, had dated Massey, 50, a bookkeeper.

The eight men and four women on the jury took about 2 1/2 hours before reaching the verdict.

The jury recommended to Judge James Ishmael Jr. a 35-year sentence for murder, and a year in jail and a $500 fine for abuse of a corpse. Charles could have faced life in prison on the murder conviction.

Massey’s arm was found along the Kentucky River in Henry County in October 2014. Her torso was found along the river in Jessamine County that December. Charles was arrested in February 2015.

The defense said Charles could not have sawed Massey’s body into pieces and then covered up the crime by taking up carpet from the Lexington duplex where he lived.

“Charles is physically incapable of this kind of activity,” said defense attorney Leslie Smith. And she said, “I submit to you it is impossible to clean up a mess like that.”

Doors and drywall taken from Charles’ home were placed on the courtroom floor in front of the jury. Indicating those doors and drywall, Smith said, “There’s nothing on there. There’s just nothing on there.”

But Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn said Charles had the means and opportunity to kill Massey.

“He had the opportunity to do this because he was with her,” Red Corn said. “He had the means to do it because he has all the equipment. ... The dismemberment of Goldia Massey was done with a saw.”

Furthermore, she said, laboratory testing found Massey’s DNA in the place where Charles lived.

“Goldia Massey is still here,” Red Corn said, tapping a pen on a door laid on its side in front of the jury.

“All of the evidence in this case points to Paris Charles,” Red Corn said.

Massey had lived in Lexington but before her death had moved in with her son and his girlfriend in Cynthiana. The indictment of Paris Charles says Massey died “on or about” Sept. 21, 2014. Her son reported her missing on Oct. 1, 2014.

The trial took a week and a half. Charles’ sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8.

After the trial, defense attorney Smith declined comment. Prosecutor Red Corn said the case was difficult because it was based on circumstantial evidence.

“The police did a good job finding every piece of evidence they could,” Red Corn said. “We’re just grateful that the jury was able to see the big picture of what happened to Goldia and convict the man that killed her.”

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