ALBANY — Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said the body of Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Goss would be sent to a GBI crime lab on Monday morning for a thorough examination before Fowler issues a final report on Goss’ death.
Albany police said Goss died Saturday from a single gunshot wound in a wooded area on the 600 block of Greenwood Drive.
Fowler, who arrived on scene shortly after police, said care is being taken to recover every bit of pertinent evidence in the case.
“We give this kind of attention to every death in the county, but we are being especially cautious since the deceased is a state-level judge,” the coroner said shortly after noon on Saturday. “Right now, we are still treating this as a homicide, and we won’t close that chapter until we’ve exhausted all efforts to determine what happened.
“We’ve been in the woods this morning going over the scene thoroughly. We will issue a more complete report once we hear back from the crime lab.”
The Albany Police Department sent out a news brief just before 10 a.m. saying APD had been dispatched to the scene at 8:11 a.m.
Goss, who’d served as judge in Dougherty Superior Court for 19 years after being appointed to that position in 1999, was named to the Georgia Court of Appeals by then-Gov. Nathan Deal on Aug. 1 of 2018. He’d been re-elected to his post as Superior Court judge five times after being appointed to the position by Gov. Roy Barnes.
A University of Georgia Law School graduate, Goss was a partner in the Watson Spence Lowe and Chambless and Cannon, Meyer von Bremen and Goss law firms before being appointed as Dougherty Circuit Juvenile Court judge in 1995. He served in that court until being appointed to an open Dougherty Superior Court judgeship in 1999 by Barnes.
A native of Sale City in Mitchell County, Goss graduated from the University of Georgia in 1983 and from the UGA Law School in 1986. He was lauded nationwide as the founder of the Dougherty Superior Court Mental Health/Substance Abuse treatment program that evolved into the Mental Health Court that became a nationwide model.
Goss was married to the former Dee Collins of Mitchell County. She taught middle school in Albany for 33 years. The Gosses have two daughters, Collins and Clark, and a son, Clint.