Get updates delivered to you daily. Free and customizable.
Grand jury indicts Palm Bay father in 'horrifying' death of son locked in laundry room
By J.D. Gallop, Florida Today,
A Brevard County grand jury has indicted a Palm Bay father suspected of brutally beating his 12-year-old son and leaving him to die from his injuries in a locked laundry room while the rest of the family left for Connecticut.
The indictment — coming almost two years after the homicide was reported — charges Jason Godleski with first-degree murder in connection with the October 2021 death of Noah Godleski. The grand jury met this week to hear prosecutors present evidence in the case. The family had already been investigated by the Department of Children and Families in connection with abuse claims involving the same child the year before.
The boy's death — described as 'horrifying' by then-Palm Bay Police Chief Nelson Moya — was one of seven child homicides reported in Brevard County for the year 2021 and followed a higher than usual number of homicides involving children countywide for a two-year period stretching back to 2020, medical examiner records show.
In the case involving Noah Godleski, his 35-year-old father was formally charged in the indictment with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, child neglect, child abuse and tampering with evidence.
"The grand jury heard testimony from investigators with the Palm Bay Police Department and the Brevard County medical examiner before returning with the indictment," said Todd Brown, spokesperson for the Brevard County State Attorney's office.
The indictment was sought by prosecutors after Godleski attempted to fire his attorney who had negotiated a plea deal in August. If convicted, Godleski could face up to life in prison.
The incident unfolded after Godleski walked into the police department lobby on Oct. 22, 2021, and told dispatchers that his son had died in their home on Colonial Drive.
"I needed to report that (Noah) passed away in his sleep. I will give you guys my address and the key,' Godleski told detectives. He then told police that he knew police would 'come down here an take me away, but can I just have a cigarette?'" court records show.
“(Noah's) in the first door on the right when you enter the front door and I have the key. There’s also a dog there . so you want to get someone there for the dog."
Detectives went to the home and carried out an investigation, determining that the boy had been severely beaten and locked in the laundry room. The boy, who was struck behind the head and in the face, later died alone in the laundry room, records show.
The family — including the boy's mother — left the state along with their other children at Godleski's urging, reports show. Godleski, who said he did not intend for the child to die, later returned to talk with the officers, court records show.
Samarial Dubose, Godleski's wife, took a plea deal on an aggravated manslaughter charge in the case. She told detectives that the boy — who had been been wearing diapers because of having accidents — was in the laundry room having an argument with Godleski.
Dubose said she heard the laundry room door shut followed by a loud noise, like something hitting the washing machine, reports show. She heard Noah crying for several minutes as his father yelled "incoherently," Dubose told detectives, adding that as the cries dwindled to moans, she went to her room to go to sleep. She later mentioned possibly taking the child to the emergency room if he wasn't walking by the next day. No efforts to call for help, however, were made, police say.
By the third day, Godleski — who police said did a search on his computer for "concussion treatments" — told the family they were heading to Connecticut and to "trust him," court records show.
Dubose was sentenced to 30 years in state prison as a result of her plea agreement.
No trial date has been set for Godleski. He remains held at the Brevard County Jail Complex on a no-bond status.
J.D. Gallop is a criminal justice/breaking news reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallop at 321-917-4641 or email@example.com. X: @JDGallop.