U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote granted a mistrial in the Curious Goods case at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday after one of the defendants, local personal injury attorney Barry Domingue, shot himself in the head. No date has been set for a retrial.
Domingue and high-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford were on trial this week, accused by federal prosecutors of multiple counts of conspiracy in the Curious Goods synthetic marijuana case. Both are representing themselves.
|Photo by Robin May|
|“He didn’t cheat, didn’t take short cuts; he led a good, clean life," says attorney Bill Goode, shown above leaving the federal courthouse Wednesday afternoon following U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote's decision to grant a mistrial in the case.|
But Domingue never made it to court Wednesday morning. Instead, he walked into the back yard of his home in Carencro and shot himself in the head. “He just couldn’t take it anymore,” attorney Bill Goode says of his friend. Goode insists the government’s case against Domingue and Stanford, both of whom Goode is assisting, is fabricated. “None of this is true,” Goode says. “This whole thing is made up.”
Stanford and Domingue were among 10 people indicted in late 2012 by a federal grand jury in an alleged multi-state illegal synthetic drug operation. In the indictment, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley claims Stanford received $156,921 and Domingue $91,319 for their role in a money laundering and drug trafficking ring involving $5 million in sales of synthetic marijuana. All of the others indicted eventually pleaded guilty and are cooperating in the case against Domingue and Stanford. Read more about the case here.
Domingue, who is in his early 50s, remains on life support at Lafayette General Medical Center. He is not expected to live.
Goode says he and Domingue’s wife and daughter were able to tell him good-bye at the hospital Wednesday morning, though Domingue was never conscious.
Goode says as a result of the federal charges, Domingue shut down his practice and spent his time at home preparing for trial. Domingue worked hard to build his practice and fought for his clients, Goode says, but he worked even harder to be a good person. “He didn’t cheat, didn’t take short cuts; he led a good, clean life. He was a really good man, accused of being a felon, a drug dealer. It was too much.”
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote dismissed the 12-person jury Wednesday morning. Stanford then requested and was granted a mistrial.