Daughter Convicted Of Castrating Dad Speaks Out
NEW YORK (CBS) â€• She’s serving time for an unthinkable crime — against her father. Brigitte Harris took justice into her own hands.
CBS 2 HD recently spoke with the convicted felon in an exclusive interview at Riker’s Island. Some feel she should never have been there in the first place.
“I just remembered thinking, ‘I have to do what I have to do what I have to do,’” Harris said. “Just to cut it off and make sure he doesn’t use it to hurt anyone else.”
Harris will spend the next five to 15 years behind bars for what she did.
When reminded she murdered her father by castrating him, Harris said, “I never intended to kill him.”
“We started fighting and he passed out at some point. Then I got the handcuffs and handcuffed him,” Harris said. “I got the scissors, the scissors didn’t work and I got the scalpel.”
Her father, Eric Goodridge, died that day in July of 2007.
At trial, the jury handed down a guilty verdict not for murder, but manslaughter in the second degree. And then, in a nearly unprecedented move, the same jurors pleaded for leniency.
George Tsourakis was one of them.
“She is not a threat to society that needs to be kept in prison,” Tsourakis wrote in a letter to the judge.
Charles Marshall was another.
“If there is anyone who needs something good to happen to her in her life, it is Ms. Harris,” Marshall wrote.
Most who wrote letters to the judge were moved by what happened before the crime.
“This young woman has been through a great deal,” Marshall said.
“Keep in mind the horrible things she’s been through,” Tsourakis wrote.
Harris said she can remember the abuse like it was yesterday.
“He made me come into our bedroom,” she said. “I can remember the doll that I had.
“I was wearing daisy printed underwear, yellow flowers.”
The abuse began at the age of 3.
“It was constant abuse, whether physical or sexual,” Harris said.
Years of torture. Years of sexual abuse, she said, at the hands of her father.
“He made me take everything off,” she said. “I would get hit with anything from canes, to fists, belts.”
CBS 2 HD: “Some have called him a monster, would you call him that?”
Harris: “That’s a pretty accurate description. It was always pain and loneliness, always wanting to run away, never having the courage to run away.”
In all, eight jurors wrote letters on her behalf, four attended the sentencing.
Her lawyer, Arthur Aidala, who was moved as well, handled her case without payment.
“Their reaction immediately after the verdict, they surrounded me on the court house step and just said, ‘Please make sure Brigitte gets the help she needs from the psychological point of view.’ And I said, ‘Fine, I will when she gets out of jail.’ And they were very surprised that she was gonna go to jail, and they volunteered to do whatever they could to prevent that from happening,” Aidala said.
Now, they’ve kept their word to help her be released from prison as early as the law will allow.
“She made her mistake,” Tsourakis said. “I just wanted to help her. Throughout her life she never really had anyone who helped her.”
“The stuff she had went through all of life as a little girl, I just figured she needed a break in life,” juror Marshall said.
CBS 2 HD asked Harris: “Looking back now, knowing what you’re facing, hard time, would you have done this again?”
Harris: “No. It’s not something that obviously was rational thinking. No, I would find other means to bring him to justice.”
Still, her belief stands: if her father wasn’t stopped, the abuse would’ve went on.
“If he’s done it to you, he’s gonna do it to someone else,” Harris said.
Harris told CBS 2 HD she took the violent action after seeing her father with her young nieces.
He was planning to move the children out of the country to live with him. Harris’ lawyer is pushing to have her released at the earliest possible release date.
With time served, she could be a free woman in just over two years.