Family Of Hate Crime Victim Files Wrongful Death Suit

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – The family of a hate crime victim is fighting for justice after his death. 37-year-old Justin Goodwin was beaten unconscious by a group of men at the now-defunct Old Timer’s Tavern in Gloucester more than two years ago.

He underwent six hours of facial reconstructive surgery followed by months of physical and mental recovery.

While three men were convicted and sentenced to prison in the beating, Goodwin’s family says he retreated to his own sort of prison.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports

His father and sister say he became a shut-in, refusing to leave home. “His whole life changed. He was afraid to go out, his appearance, he kept going to therapy about his nightmares,” says his sister Jen Goodwin.

Last March, he took his own life.

Since Goodwin had filed a civil rights lawsuit before his death, his attorneys are now shifting the focus to wrongful death. They’re naming not only the men who assaulted him, but also the owner of the Old Timer’s Tavern.

“You should be able to go where you want. Doesn’t matter your sexual orientation, if you’re gay, not gay, doesn’t matter,” says the Goodwin family’s attorney, John Morris.

The attorney representing the Tavern’s owner says there isn’t enough hard evidence to link Goodwin’s death to the incident in the bar two years before. A hearing to decide if it warrants a trial is scheduled for later this month.

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