17 months ago a crash left him paralyzed. Now he faces murder charge

Devon Lee Freeman
Devon Lee Freeman

When then-19-year-old Devon Lee Freeman popped a wheelie riding a dirt bike down 21st Street near Chilk Avenue in Sarasota on June 9, 2015, a car running a stop sign put him in a green-and-black wheelchair.

Now 21, he told a Connecticut-based photographer Joe Lipstein in an Instagram post from August that he was known for being a “skilled speed-demon,” but that the crash collapsed both lungs, threw him 40 feet and left him paralyzed.

Wednesday night, Freeman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the Sunday’s fatal shooting of Moriah Hope Goode.

Detectives say the shooting was the result of an on-going feud between groups of people from Bradenton and Sarasota.

Goode, 18, and a friend were shot at several times at about 4:35 p.m. Sunday while in the 3300 block of Fourth Street East in the West Samoset neighborhood in Bradenton. Her friend, who was uninjured, took Goode to Manatee Memorial Hospital where she later died.

Freeman, of Sarasota, was arrested in Sarasota less than four hours after the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office made public Wednesday that it had obtained an arrest warrant charging him with killing Goode.

He is being held at the Sarasota County jail without bond. He will be transported to the Manatee County jail so he can face the murder charge.

A witness told detectives after the shooting that she had been sitting outside a home in the 3300 block of Fourth Street East and Freeman was sitting in his silver 2004 two-door Infiniti when Goode’s friend drove by, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

“You better not being moving in here. It is going to end bad for you,” Goode’s friend told Freeman, homicide detective Rabun Moss stated in the report.

Freeman began shooting at the vehicle being driven by Goode’s friend, and the witness ran inside the house, she told detectives.

Goode told her friend she needed to go to the hospital because she had been shot.

When they arrived at Manatee Memorial, an unconscious Goode was rushed into emergency surgery, where she died from a single gunshot to her chest that had struck her heart, according to the affidavit.

Goode’s friend told law enforcement he and Goode had been leaving his family’s home in the 3300 block of Fourth Street East through a back parking lot when he heard shooting and his vehicle was hit. He said he sped from the scene when Goode told him she needed to go to the hospital.

“There is a long standing feud between the two of them,” sheriff’s office spokesman Dave Bristow said of Freeman and Goode’s friend.

Freeman graduated from Sarasota High School in 2014, playing football as cornerback and free safety with No. 6 on his jersey. He said he had a full scholarship for track and football, and a daughter.

“Without my daughter,” Freeman told Lipstein, “I wouldn’t still be pushing these wheels.”

Freeman said he hoped to be walking within the next year, but he is listed as “disabled,” according to jail booking records.

Freeman’s criminal history includes an arrest for two counts of battery that were later dropped.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2519.

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012