Bail denied for NY state trooper charged with murder in 11-year-old girl's death

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A judge on Thursday denied bail for a New York state trooper who is charged with murder after a pursuit ended with the death of an 11-year-old girl from Brooklyn.

Monica Goods' father was driving his wife and two daughters to visit relatives before Christmas last year when Trooper Christopher Baldner stopped him for speeding in the town of Ulster.

Prosecutors say Tristan Goods fled the scene after Baldner sprayed pepper spray into the vehicle during the stop, leading to a chase.

Baldner pursued the SUV and rammed his police vehicle into the other vehicle twice, the prosecutors said.

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After the second strike, the SUV flipped over several times and came to rest upside down, with Monica ejected from the vehicle.

Attorney General Letitia James has jurisdiction over deaths caused by police officers.

"Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl," James said in a statement. "While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case."

The trooper is charged with murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

"She could make anybody laugh," Monica's moher, Michelle Surrency, said. "It doesn't matter how you felt and it's sad, it hurts that we don't have that no more. We were robbed, and it's not fair. It's not fair."

Surrency said she lost two children that day because her other daughter, Tristina, will never be the same.

Authorities say Baldner similarly rammed his police vehicle into other cars on the Thruway north of New York City on two previous occasions in 2017 and 2019.

The new indictment includes the 2019 incident and alleges that Baldner "endangered the lives of three passengers" in the car he rammed.

"There were two prior events in which he rammed cars from behind, which became evidence before this grand jury," attorney Sanford Rubenstein said. "Clearly this state trooper never should've been on duty at the time this happened. Apparently there was a pattern here of him using this technique to ram cars."

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State police said Baldner was suspended without pay and that they investigated the matter and cooperated with the attorney general's office.

Thomas Mungeer, the president of the state troopers' Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement that the union sends its condolences to the family of the child who died.

"We respect the legal process and are preparing for the next step, which will be to provide legal representation to the involved Trooper, a right afforded to every American citizen tried by a jury of peers," the union head said. "As this case makes its way through the legal system, we look forward to a review and public release of the facts, including the motorist's reckless actions that started this chain of events."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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