Christopher Golden, 42, was found guilty of armed robbery, kidnapping, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Golden robbed the Magnolia Lodge at gunpoint, kidnapped Nick Patel, and was in possession of a weapon as a convicted felon.
After a very short deliberation, a Montgomery County jury found Golden guilty of all counts, and Judge George Mitchell Jr. sentenced him to 60 years -- 25 for armed robbery, 25 for kidnapping, and 10 for the possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Because Golden is a habitual offender with charges dating back to the 1990s, he will serve each sentence consecutively day for day.
Before the case began, Defense Attorney Lee Bailey filed a motion that only six uniformed officers could be in the room during the trial. Bailey said too many officers in the room could influence bias in the jury. However, agents from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, a trooper from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Chief Tyler Winter of Duck Hill, Winona Chief of Police Tommy Bibbs, Winona Captain Dan Herod and several officers with the Winona Police Department, Sheriff Bubba Nix and several deputies were on hand during Golden’s trial, most in plain clothes.
Before the trial, Mitchell warned the jury of Golden’s previous outbursts in court and warned Golden that if he did have an outburst, he would send him out of the courtroom. And he kept true to his word. However, before Golden had another outburst in court and was led from the courtroom, jurors heard from Nick Patel, Camille Garrett, Dan Herod.
After he was allowed back in the courtroom, Golden, against the advice of his attorney, took the stand in his own defense.
According to her testimony, Garrett said she met Golden, who she knew by only the name Patrick, through a cousin, and the two had been mutual acquaintances for only a week and a half when she took him to the Magnolia Lodge on Sept. 10, 2016.
“I usually take the back road from Winona to Kilmichael,” she said.
However, Garrett said that particular day, she took Highway 407 and met Golden walking down the road toward Winona. She said she stopped and picked him up and headed to Winona.
“I asked him where he wanted me to take him, he said to a hotel,” Garrett said, adding that the man she knew as “Patrick” told her that he didn’t have a place to stay. So, she took him to Magnolia Lodge off of Highway 82, behind America’s Best.
There, Garrett said she got the room in her name because “Patrick” didn’t have identification on him. Assistant District Attorney Brandon Langford asked her if she remembered the room number.
“I’m not sure, but it was on the end,” she said.
Garrett said she was unaware the man she knew as “Patrick” was Christopher Golden until police arrested her and interrogated her about the events that went on. She said she had no idea what Golden had planned the night it took place.
“It was Mr. Tommy Bibbs, some other officers I didn’t know, and Mr. L.C. [Smith], they had shown me a video they froze, but I couldn’t recognize who was on the video,” Garrett said. “They kept asking me questions, and I told them I didn’t know anything….I was just trying to be a good person and help someone out in need,” she said.
Garrett said she didn’t stay at the room and left after receiving a call that her mom was sick.
Patel said he was at work when the incident occurred.
“A guy came down and said he needed a plunger and some towels,” Patel said. “He came back and said he needed more towels for his room.”
He said the man told him that the towels he had were all wet. He said he met the man at the laundry room and there the man held him at gunpoint.
“He told me to give him all the money, so that’s what I did,” he said.
Patel said there was approximately $400 in the till because that’s how much was kept on hand at all times. He said the man then told him to take him somewhere, so he did.
Patel said the man never lowered the gun and kept it at the back of his head. He said the man told him that if he didn’t do what he said, he’d kill him.
“I was scared, you know, it was either do what the man says, or I die.”
He said he dropped the man off and came back to the hotel where his wife told him to contact the police.
Before Herod, chief investigator for the Winona Police Department, testified, Golden was removed from the courtroom by order of the judge until he was able to cool down after accusing someone, specifically someone in law enforcement, of taking a white envelope containing pertinent information to his case.
He said the envelope contained information that proved Garrett was lying about not knowing him, that she had communicated with him, and that he knew her e-mail address after she sent it to him through someone else.
Mitchell warned Golden of his outburst and told him that he would place him in the holding cell until he was more collected.
“Alright, let’s go. Take me back there,” Golden said. And deputies escorted Golden back to the holding cell during the duration of Herod’s testimony.
During testimony, Herod said he was off duty the weekend in question, but returned to work that following Monday and began investigating the case. He said he reviewed the footage from the hotel and instantly knew who it was.
“I’ve been in law enforcement a long time, and I’ve never been so sure of anything in my entire life,” Herod said.
Surveillance video from the hotel was shown to the jurors, and Herod gave a detailed explanation, frame by frame. The video showed a man who distinctly resembled Golden going to the office and speaking with Patel. He then makes his way to another room, which Herod referred to as the maintenance room, where he was seen outside the door pulling something that resembled a gun from his waistband.
“He looks around the parking lot and notices there are people outside and places it back in his waistband and goes back to his room,” Herod said.
He said the video showed Golden in his room less than 10 minutes before he emerges again, and goes through the same routine.
However, this time when he goes to the maintenance room and looking around, the video shows Golden taking something that again resembled a gun out of his waistband and placed it behind his right leg.
“You’ll see he then forces his way inside,” Herod said.
The video then shows Patel in the office where Herod said Golden ordered him to give him all the money out of the till.
“He then takes him back to his room where he orders Patel to get his book bag or something out of the room,” Herod said.
The video then showed the two walking back toward the office where Patel retrieved his keys, and the two get into Patel’s white Ford Taurus.
“You’ll see Patel get in the front, and Golden get in the back,” Herod said.
The video then shows Patel arriving back at the hotel, where he then contacts police.
Golden told jurors a different story; and claims the man on the video wasn’t him. According to him, he was on Poorhouse Road and wasn’t anywhere near the Magnolia Lodge.
“It wasn’t me. I didn’t rob anybody, I didn’t kidnap anybody, and I didn’t have a gun. I can’t have a gun, I’m a felon, that’s against the rules for me,” Golden said. “I have never committed a violent crime in my life. If I robbed the guy, why didn’t I take his keys and leave? Why would I kidnap the guy? That’s stupid. This is my life on the line; this is my life.”
Mitchell then stopped Golden after Assistant District Attorney Adam Hopper objected to Golden’s plea, stating that he was making the closing statements.
“That’s enough. You said what you had to say and that’s it,” Mitchell told Golden.
However But, jurors were not persuaded by Golden, and after the announcement of the verdict, Bailey had the jury polled. Each individual jury stated they voted to find Golden guilty. He was then transported to the Grenada County jail where he awaits a room with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Sentenced to 60 years, day for day, Golden will be eligible for release at the age of 102.