So horrible. This poor 6-year-old little boy is in a court testifying about how he saw his daddy, JAMEL GOOD, bury his mama in the backyard just after he murdered her.
6-Year-Old: Dad Buried Mom In Back Yard
Child Testifies About Day Mother Died
POSTED: 11:37 am EST December 8, 2009
UPDATED: 7:52 am EST December 9, 2009
UNION, S.C. -- The 6-year-old son of a woman who was killed testified on Tuesday that he saw his father bury his mother in the back yard.
The child took the stand during the second day of the trial of 29-year-old Jamel Good. Good is charged with killing his girlfriend, Maria Fernandez. He was arrested outside his home on Feb. 9, 2009.
Fernandez, 31, who was a nurse in Union County, disappeared on Sept. 3, 2008. A utility worker looking for fallen lines found Fernandez’s skeletal remains in January 2009, lying in a wooded area off High Point Road near Herbert Road in Union County. She was identified through dental records.
An arrest affidavit said that Good admitted that he last saw Maria at the house they shared on Sept. 3. A neighbor reported hearing gunshots from the home on Blue Ridge Road early in the evening on that same day, though the official cause of Fernandez’s death is unknown.
Solicitor Ken Brackett said that investigators found Fernandez’s earrings, three shell casings and a cell phone in a trash barrel behind Good’s house.
Fernandez's 6-year-old son testified Tuesday afternoon. When asked where his mom was now, her son answered, "With Jesus."
Fernandez's son said on the last day he ever saw his mother, he played soccer with her. He said that afterwards, his parents went into the house and into their room.
The boy was allowed to talk with little questioning. WYFF's Mike McCormick was in court and said the child was hard to follow, but the boy did say that he was there when his mother died.
The boy said he thought he saw a camera flash at the time of his mother's death.
He said, "It was this camera. My dad was smiling. She was not. She died when the camera flashed."
When the defense questioned him, about the flash, he said he heard a sound come from his parents' room.
The defense attorney said, "That thing you said you heard -- what did it sound like?"
The boy answered, "Chhhh." And said that was what happened when he saw the flash.
He said, "My dad buried her." When he was asked where, he said, "In the back yard. He had a shovel. Then he digged a hole and put her in there."
Good's Friend, Others Testify
Tuesday’s court proceedings started with testimony of a bank loan officer, Mike Watson, who dealt with Fernandez. At the time of her death, she was applying for a loan to buy a home for her and her son, according to Watson.
A real estate developer and broker took the stand next and talked about dealing with both Fernandez and Good.
The trial started Monday evening immediately following jury selection. Five witnesses testified on Monday.
Dennis Tally, a friend and relative of Good, also took the stand on Tuesday. Tally testified that on Sept 3, 2008, he and Good went to Fernandez's brother's house to do work.
Tally said on the way they stopped at a gas station where Good bought beer and rubbing alcohol. They headed toward Spartanburg and stopped, Tally testified. Good got out, went to the back of the car and smashed a cell phone on the pavement, according to Tally. Good got back in the car with the broken cell phone and said that he and Fernandez were mad at each other, said Tally.
Good and Tally then went to Fernandez's brothers house in Spartanburg. Tally said Good was rushing him through his work.
On the way back to Union, Tally they stopped at a car wash, where Good washed his car and used the rubbing alcohol to wipe down the interior of the car. Good also threw away the driver's-side floor mat and got Tally to buy an air freshener for the car, Tally testified.
Tally also testified that Good burned the trash after September 3, and that when they went to dump the barrel with the burned trash inside, they saw and a tire iron in the ashes. Tally said that Good took the tire iron away.
Fernandez’s mother, who was sitting in the front row of the courtroom, broke down during Tally’s testimony.
In cross examination, the defense attorney strongly challenged Tally's credibility by pointing out that what he was testifying to the jury didn't match what he told investigators when questioned in September 2008.
Union County Coroner William Holcombe took the stand after Tally, just before noon. He testified about finding Fernandez's skeletal remains. He also told the jury that he does not know what caused Fernandez to die.
During preliminary interviews, Tally told investigators that while he was driving with Good on the night of Fernandez’s disappearance, he heard a noise coming from the trunk. He said Good pulled over and went to the trunk and banged something against the side of the car. Investigators later found the face plate of Fernandez’s phone where the car had been stopped.
Investigators said that when they checked Good’s car, it smelled like cleaning chemicals and the carpet from the trunk had been removed. They also said that they found a specific type of grass in the undercarriage of Good’s car that grows in the area where Fernandez’s body was found in January.
Good and Fernandez had a son who was 5 at the time of her death. The child was last reported to be living with Good's family.
Good’s attorney, Doug Brannon, has said that his client has an airtight alibi. He said Good was at Fernandez’s brother’s house doing work on it on the night that his girlfriend disappeared. He also wanted bond for Good, and said he is not a flight risk. The prosecutor disagreed, and said that Good is a flight risk because he has family elsewhere. The judge denied bail. Good has been in Union County Detention Center since his February arrest.