SCHENECTADY — Aishah Goodwin and her children still struggle with their wounds nearly one year after her partner stalked through their home shooting them in a murderous rage, she told a judge Monday.
She spoke at the sentencing of that man, Dushawn Howard. Howard on Monday received 75 years to life in state prison for the July 2018 Schenectady shooting.
“I would have taken every shot rather than my kids be shot,” Goodwin told the court.
Howard was convicted in April on three counts of second-degree attempted murder for trying to kill Goodwin and two of her children. Judge Kathleen Hogan on Monday imposed three consecutive terms of 25 years to life in prison, essentially a life sentence for the 48-year-old Howard.
The jury found Howard shot and tried to kill Goodwin, her 7-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter last July at 1373 Union St. Each survived. Goodwin's infant son was present, but not physically injured.
The judge imposed the 75-years-to-life term as she found Howard continued to refuse to accept responsibility and has shown “zero remorse” for the shooting that left all three of his victims with serious injuries.
"I think you deserve a sentence that will never have you come out of prison," the judge told Howard.
Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham said Howard would prove a “grave threat” to public safety if ever released, and painted him as remorseless, failed killer.
Hogan noted Howard shot Goodwin in the face as she was changing her baby’s diaper, a time when anyone else would ordinarily have felt a profound sense of love and parenthood.
And she noted testimony from medical experts disputed Howard’s argument that the shots were during a struggle.
“These are targeted shots intended to kill,” Hogan said.
Howard’s defense attorney, Mark Sacco, had asked for a sentence of 20 years.
Goodwin spoke after Howard made clear in a hearing prior to the sentencing that he maintains his innocence.
Howard delivered a defiant statement in which he continued to maintain he had acted in self-defense, trying to shift the blame to Goodwin.
Howard's claim led to loud sobs from Goodwin, who was seated in the gallery.
At trial, Tremante-Pelham rebuted any claim of self defense from Howard. The prosecutor told the jury in closing arguments that Howard made his intent to kill clear, and that his explanation defied logic.
“I’m not perfect, but I’m not a monster,” Howard told the court.
Goodwin testified at trial that Howard was fulfilling a pledge to kill the family if she left him, a fuse lit following a beating he delivered earlier that spring.
Despite the rampage, Goodwin told the court she still loves Howard.
"That's the thing about it -- I just pray God forgives him,” she said. “I’m not saying he’s evil, but he did evil things.”
Speaking after Goodwin's remarks, Tremante-Pelham noted the most striking aspect of the proceedings was that Goodwin showed more empathy for Howard than he had for her.