Bucks County father gets prison time after his son's prom send-off turns deadly

Jim Melwert
June 15, 2019 - 4:00 am
49-year-old Gary Goddard

Courtesy of the Bucks County District Attorney's Office


BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — He claimed he was just trying to protect his son, but now a 49-year-old Bristol Township man will spend at least 12 1/2 years behind bars for his part in a 2018 prom night shooting.

Gary Goddard claimed he was trying to keep his son safe when he opened fire on May 4 in Bristol Township.

The shooting happened as Goddard’s neighbors were outside taking photos of children before they went to the prom.

A fight broke out between rival neighborhoods and that’s when gunshots were fired.

Prosecutors point out Goddard was standing over the victim, 19-year-old Zysean McDuffie, when he fired a shot into his head.

“Zyisean McDuffie was on his last moments when Mr. Goddard decided to put a bullet in his head like he was an animal on the side of the road,” said Deputy District Attorney Antonetta Stancu.

Initially Goddard was charged with murder, but that was changed to attempted murder when the medical examiner determined it was another bullet from another gun that killed McDuffie.

“I understand, on some level, wanting to defend your son,” the judge said. “But that’s not what happened here. You knew what you were doing. This did not happen in a moment of panic for you.”

Tommy Ballard also was killed. Nineteen-year-old Joey Williams was convicted of both murders and is serving two life sentences.