November 19, 1992
Lawrence Goodine and his 10-year-old daughter are killed by a man who had previously dated Lawrence’s wife
Seburt Connor had previously dated Margaret Goodine, and the pair had known each other for 20 years by the time of the killings. Margaret and her husband Lawrence separated in 1988 and Margaret began seeing Connor again, though she ended their relationship in 1992. Connor then began to stalk and harass Margaret. According to police documents, Connor attempted to stab Margaret as she returned home from work. She was able to evade the attack and filed a restraining order against him. Despite the restraining order, Connor was seen driving past Margaret’s house often and is suspected to have committed several burglaries, stealing bed linens and towels from her home in the process. Connor also made verbal threats to Margaret indicating he would kill her family, and at least once Connor was seen by a neighbor as he shot at Margaret’s home while driving by.
Eventually, Lawrence and Margaret reconciled and Lawrence moved back into the house with Margaret and their two children. Soon after, Connor’s harassment seemed to end. “For a month, we didn’t have any problems,” Margaret’s oldest daughter, who was 13 at the time, told reporters. “We were beginning to think he wasn’t coming back.” The daughter also told reporters “I never liked him [Connor]. Never. I tried to tell my mother, but she’d say, ‘I love him.’” The teen also described an incident of physical abuse by Connor in which he slapped her in the face for eating grapes.
I never liked him. Never. I tried to tell my mother, but she’d say, “I love him.”
On November 19, the elder Goodine daughter arrived home and immediately called her mother, stating it seemed as though someone had been in the house recently. Lawrence and his 10-year-old daughter Jessica also appeared to be missing. Margaret’s first suspicion was that Connor had had a role in her family’s disappearance and police were notified.
Lawrence’s body was found in a wooded area the next afternoon. It was estimated he had been dead for 24 hours before the body’s discovery. It was also determined Lawrence had been bludgeoned to death.
Connon was questioned, at which point police noticed blood stains in Connor’s vehicle and clothing. Connor voluntarily supplied the police with the bloody articles, stating the blood was his as he had recently cut his leg. The DNA results, however, showed the blood belonged to Lawrence. Connor and his wife also gave police permission to search their house and cottage. Jessica’s body was found in the latter. She had been strangled, wrapped in a comforter, and wedged between a bed and wall.
Prosecutors suggested Connor, jealous and angry over Margaret remaining with her husband, had entered the Goodine house, bludgeoned Lawrence with the leg of a chair, wrapped him in a blanket, then put him in the backseat of his car. Jessica had last been seen being driven in a car matching the description of Connor’s vehicle, and it was suggested she had been kidnapped shortly after her father’s death then taken to Connor’s cottage and strangled.
Connor, who represented himself in court, claimed the “State planted the evidence and Jessica’s body in his house.” Connor also “underwent literally hundreds of hours of tests by numerous psychiatrists and psychologists” to establish if he had a mental illness which may have prevented him from being criminally responsible for the murders. It was found that he “suffers from some type of organic brain syndrome and paranoia” and “is seriously troubled,” though it was noted his mental health was not impacted to “such a severity that it interfered with Mr. Connor’s ability to perceive events, or to fully plan and carry out his murder of Jessica.”
Connor was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder as well as one count each of kidnapping and burglary. The jury recommended a life sentence for the murder of Lawrence and the death penalty for the murder of Jessica. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Connor died on October 2, 2016, though the cause of his death was not listed.
Connor, Seburt N. DC Number: 124517. Florida Department of Corrections. http://www.dc.state.fl.us/offenderSearch/detail.aspx?Page=Detail&DCNumber=124517&TypeSearch=IR
Lawrence A. Goodine. Find a Grave. Accessed: November 19, 2020. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/206205410/lawrence-a.-goodine
“UPDATED: See the face of Florida’s oldest death row inmates.” WESH. August 15, 2014. Accessed: November 19, 2020. https://www.wesh.com/article/updated-see-the-faces-of-florida-s-oldest-death-row-inmates/4330420
Seburt Nelson Connor v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections, 10-12847 (11th Cir. 2013). Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Filed: March 27, 2013 (archived: https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/856522/seburt-nelson-connor-v-secretary-florida-departmen/)
Supreme Court of Florida. Seburt Nelson CONNOR, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. No. SC04-1283. Decided: November 15, 2007 (archived: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1156092.html)
“Child killer gets electric chair.” The Miami Herald. June 20, 1998
Driscoll, Amy. “Ex-lover guilty in slayings.” The Miami Herald. February 13, 1998
Gehrke, Donna. “Suspect changed pattern recently before ex-lover’s family was shot.” The Miami Herald. November 24, 1992
“Double murder.” News-Press [Fort Myers, Florida]. November 22, 1992