Rev. Marguerite Morris was concerned about her daughter. “Katherine was phenomenally focused, loving and precious,” she said. “But I knew something was wrong.” On December 22, 2011, she emailed Katherine. Her daughter’s reply was a suicide letter.
Rev. Morris was 90 minutes away. Panicked, she immediately called 911, who contacted the University of Maryland campus police. Their fast response, Rev. Morris stated, “may very well have saved my daughter’s life.”
Katherine was admitted to the Washington Adventist Hospital, and her parents rushed to be with her. That’s when they learned that Katherine had married Army Specialist Isaac Goodwin.
Goodwin, who was still in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was notified of Katherine’s hospitalization on December 23, 2011. He said he could not come to Maryland because of the military. Katherine’s parents attempted to contact Goodwin on December 24, 25 and 26. He did not respond. The parents then called the Red Cross, knowing that by doing so, Goodwin’s commanders would become aware of the situation. Finally, on December 27, 2011, Goodwin called Rev. Morris and said he was on his way to Maryland.
No spousal support
All semester long, Katherine had been struggling financially. Rev. Morris herself was a military spouse—Katherine’s father, Willie Morris, had served in the Air Force for 15 years and they had been married for 25 years. So she knew that Katherine was entitled to medical benefits and spousal support, called Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). But according to Rev. Morris, Goodwin repeatedly stated that he only received “$70 to $80 more per month” as spousal benefits, and the only way he could get benefits for Katherine was to bring her to Fort Bragg. Rev. Morris believed he was lying, and that he was probably receiving $900 per month in BAH payments.
On January 3, 2012, Rev. Morris sent a letter to Goodwin’s commanding officer at Fort Bragg, telling the whole story. She made the following points:
- To date Specialist Goodwin has never informed his spouse of any entitlement to a military ID card.
- To date Specialist Goodwin has never signed his spouse up for any medical benefits.
- To date Specialist Goodwin has received over $4,000 in spousal benefits including January 2012.
- We firmly believe that Specialist Isaac Goodwin filed for and has been receiving BAH for his wife Katherine Goodwin Morris and has failed to pass those benefits on to his spouse.
Shortly afterwards, a telephone conference call took place between Katherine, her parents, Goodwin and his commanding officers. Goodwin was then ordered by his chain of command to comply with the Army’s spousal support requirements. He didn’t do it willingly.
Five other women
Specialist Isaac Goodwin deployed to Afghanistan on March 3, 2012. Deployment is an emotional time, usually attended by the soldiers’ families. Goodwin told Katherine that he didn’t want anyone to be there—not his mother, not his family, not his wife. But Katherine followed Goodwin’s mother in Twitter, and learned that she was on her way to North Carolina to watch her son deploy.
“YOU ARE SUCH A LIAR!” Katherine texted to Goodwin. “I KNOW YOUR MOM IS ON HER WAY TO SEE YOU! WOW! YOU HATE ME THAT F**KING MUCH!”
That wasn’t the only betrayal. A few days later, Katherine hacked into Goodwin’s email account and Facebook page, and found that he was cheating on her. He was communicating with at least five other women as he traveled to Afghanistan, telling them that he loved them, missed them, and couldn’t wait to see them.
On March 9, 2012, Katherine sent the following email to all of them:
Just wondering if you all know that Isaac Goodwin is married and messing with all of you at the same time. Well now you know. I guarantee he’ll deny it. Don’t worry as soon as he get’s back from Afghanistan I’ll b divorcing him so y’all can fight over who gets to have him then. But have a blessed day ladies!
The official Mrs. Goodwin!
Marrying for financial gain
One of the other women was a member of the military who Goodwin had been dating since late 2009. She was shocked to receive Katherine’s email—especially since she and Goodwin had talked about marriage, and went to a jewelry store where she tried on rings. The woman sent Goodwin an email:
To think that you would go ahead and MARRY someone you know likes/ cares about you just for financial gain is crazy ”¦ Or should I say just plain STUPID. DUMB. And think you weren’t going to run into any problems. Not very smart Isaac.
However please know that you HURT my feelings deeply. It’s really sad that even still I feel like your Not telling me the TRUTH about everything. But maybe that’s a good thing!!!!!
Well one thing I do know to be the truth is KARMA and I’m sure you will be receiving your share very soon!
Katherine, of course had hacked Goodwin’s email, so she saw the correspondence between the woman and him. On the morning of March 10, 2012, Katherine wrote to Goodwin:
Aww she really cares about you! Doesn’t want you to get in trouble on your job but you should tell her that if she really cared and didnt want to get you in trouble she would stop sending you emails because I have printouts of every single email she’s sent you and it doesn’t look good for you on the whole frauding the government by marrying me to get BAH or on the whole you committing adultery. She’s just digging an even bigger whole for you but I do thank her for that.
That evening, Goodwin replied, apparently worried that Katherine would report him to the Army’s Inspector General. He wrote:
I am sorry. I want talk to none of them anymore. Are you going IG? I give you the divorce. Please
A month later, Katherine wrote to Goodwin that she wouldn’t go to the IG if he told her the complete truth about everything. She wrote:
I kno this will b hard 4 u since u seem 2struggle w/ bein honest&truthful but its the ONLY thing that will stop me from goin 2ig
Waiting for it to be over
On May 2, 2012, the other woman who was in the military contacted Katherine, wanting to talk about Goodwin. Katherine called the woman from the apartment that she shared with Michelle Harper. Harper could hear Katherine speaking in a low voice.
In her notarized statement, Harper recounted what happened:
Kathy told me that the woman said Isaac had told her that he was getting a divorce with Kathy and leaving her to marry this other woman. Meanwhile, Isaac had been telling Kathy at the same time that he was working things out with her and staying in the marriage. This threw Kathy for a loop. She did not know what to believe, but what she did know was that she was tired of being lied to over and over again. After our conversation, she went to her room to sleep, but I could hear her from the other side of the door crying.
Katherine posted 27 Twitter and Facebook messages over the next three days—messages of turmoil. At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, 2012, she walked out of her apartment. Harper thought she was going to church, as she always did on Saturday night.
At 8:32 p.m., Katherine tweeted:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
At 9:49 p.m., she tweeted and posted on Facebook:
Waiting for this to be over.
The next morning, Katherine was discovered slumped over in her car. At 5:37 a.m., she was pronounced dead. Back in her room, she left a final note on her computer for her family. It said in part:
I want my death to bring attention to this person and what he has done so that it can stop. So that he can be stopped so that no more women will be hurt by his actions and his selfishness. So that everybody that he has continued to lie to can see the truth and everybody that thinks he is such an angel and can do no wrong can see the faÃ§ade he has put on for you. I know I’m not perfect. I’ve made my mistakes. I’ve messed up. I’ve sinned. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t.
I love both of my parents very much and I love my close friends just the same. I love my family and friends also, and I know that they love me in return. I never wanted to hurt you all like this but I really feel like I can’t go on. Please don’t feel guilty or like this is your fault because it’s not. I know that if I needed to I could reach out to any one of you and you would do what you could to help but I feel the only way for justice to truly be served in this situation is for me to give my life for the cause.
I’m doing what I’m doing so that others may know the truth.
Upon being notified of his wife’s death, Specialist Isaac Goodwin returned from Afghanistan, asking his military other woman to pick him up at the airport. He did not attend Katherine Morris’ funeral, but he did stop the funeral home’s office to pick up her death certificate.