On Tuesday, prosecutors announced 42-year-old Arland Mills pleaded guilty to hiring a man to illegally purchase firearms for him. Mills obtained multiple firearms, three of which were found during the execution of the search warrant on Ruskin Road, prosecutors said.
In the main case, prosecutors alerted the court that they will not be seeking the death penalty against Cortner or Combs. They have not filed a decision whether they will seek the death penalty against Goddard. His attorneys have until the beginning of next month to provide mitigating evidence, according to court records. Then prosecutors have until April 1 to alert the defense of their decision.
Defense attorneys for Cortner and Combs have said that Goddard has taken responsibility for the shooting and the drugs found at the home and that their clients are innocent. Prosecutors have rejected that argument.
And while prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against Cortner, they also don’t want him to leave jail. After the prosecutors filed their decision not to seek the death penalty, the defense for Cortner asked the court to free him from jail pending trial.
The government filed a response in opposition to bond, noting that he faces up to life in imprisonment if convicted. Prosecutors also provided some new evidence against Cortner that has not been publicly released until now.
“The government has now completed a forensic examination of a cellular phone belonging to Cortner that was recovered at the 1454 Ruskin Road residence immediately following the shooting of TFO DelRio,” the response says. “Text messages on that phone show that the day of the shooting, Nov. 4, 2019, Cortner communicated with another individual … about the prices for the very types of drugs that were recovered by officers in the 1454 Ruskin Road residence.”
Prosecutors say Cortner discussed selling marijuana, opioids and cocaine.
Court records show Cortner is due in court on Nov. 18 for a hearing on the motion for bond. Another hearing date has been set in December as defense attorneys are requesting that the three cases be severed and tried separately.