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Long IslandCrime

Dante Taylor trial is a ‘roller coaster,’ victim’s family says

Dante Taylor of Mastic is led out of

Dante Taylor of Mastic is led out of the Sixth Precinct in Selden for arraignment in Central Islip on Saturday, July 12, 2014. Photo Credit: James Carbone

The family of a young Medford mother found stabbed to death in the woods five days after she disappeared will journey to Riverhead again Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of her death on the day prosecutors expect to rest their case against the Mastic man charged with raping and killing her.

“It’s a roller coaster,” said Elizabeth DeMuria, one of the sisters of victim Sarah Goode, 21. “We’re angry. We’re sad. We’ve had no time to grieve. We can’t memorialize our sister.”

She and other family members and friends spoke outside the Suffolk criminal courthouse Monday after the defense for Dante Taylor, 21, again said prosecutors were improperly withholding evidence — this time, photographs of Goode’s bloody BMW taken by a blood-spatter expert.

DeMuria and other sisters said the latest of numerous claims of prosecutorial misconduct has worn on them, as has their inability to publicly display their sorrow at the courthouse.

Early in the trial, state Supreme Court Justice John Collins warned them they risked a mistrial if jurors felt pressured to convict after seeing the family’s placards demanding justice in the courthouse parking lot, so he ordered the signs removed.

Collins also has ruled that numerous instances of prosecutors not turning over evidence have compromised Taylor’s right to a fair trial.

“It’s just surreal,” said Allaura Cicero, a close friend of Goode’s. “We’re reliving it. We’re doing it all over and over again in our heads.”

Two years ago Tuesday, Goode didn’t come home after a rare night out with friends. When her partially decomposed body was found five days later, authorities said she had been raped and stabbed 43 times. Taylor, who met Goode the night she disappeared, is on trial, charged with first-degree murder.

After Tuesday’s testimony is complete, Goode’s sisters said they would quietly visit her grave and then perhaps go to the beach, a place she had loved.

They said it was doubtful that a verdict in the case would lighten their load much.

“It’s not going to make any of this any better,” said sister Jodie Dixon. “It’s not going to bring Sarah back.”

When the trial resumes Tuesday, forensic scientist Donald Doller of the Suffolk Crime Laboratory is expected to explain how blood spatter patterns and smears inside and outside Goode’s car could show how she was killed.

He would have done that Monday, but defense attorney John Lewis Jr. of Farmingdale objected, saying he realized Doller would be relying on photographs that should have been turned over to the defense months ago. The failure to turn over the photos hurt his ability to prepare his case, Lewis said.

It is the latest of numerous instances of evidence and other material not being given to the defense, as the law requires. Lewis asked Collins to keep Doller from testifying as a remedy.

“It seems, judge, that unless I catch it, I don’t get what I’m supposed to get,” Lewis said.

Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson said she didn’t believe Doller used any of the photos he took to prepare his analysis, but would need to discuss it with him. Collins put his hand on his forehead.

“Judge, I’m sorry,” Albertson said. “I know you’re going to get mad with me.”

“I’m well past mad,” Collins said softly.

He called the attorneys up to the bench and urged them to figure out it in time for Tuesday. “I need someone to know what the hell they’re talking about,” he told them.

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