By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Matlock had good reason to be concerned. Stephanie was Goodrum's third wife. The other failed marriages were interspersed with numerous arrests and serious criminal charges, including drug trafficking, possession of stolen property, assault, reckless endangerment and kidnaping.
But if Goodrum, the son of a former Arizona Department of Public Safety officer who later became principal of a nearby high school, knew how to get into trouble, he knew how to get out of it, as well. He simply offered his services to Graham County law enforcement agencies in exchange for having the charges dropped. In short, he became a snitch. And a darn good one at that.
"He maintained reliability and credibility with me," former Graham County Attorney's Office investigator Dave Boyd says.
Goodrum frequently worked on drug and stolen property cases, helping to send a number of people to jail, Boyd says.
While Goodrum was helping Boyd, he also was working for the Safford Police Department as a confidential informant, says the department's former narcotics officer, Kenny McKinney.
"He was a snitch for us, and he was a good one," McKinney says.
Goodrum acted as an informant in Graham County for several years. Then, he moved to Phoenix in the late 1980s. Boyd helped Goodrum land an informant position with the Phoenix Police Department.
In August 1988, he got into an altercation with two Phoenix police officers in front of the downtown police station. As the officers approached his truck, Goodrum tried to pull a loaded gun from a holster. The officers did not approve.
Goodrum was arrested on aggravated assault and reckless endangerment charges. He later pleaded guilty to two counts of felony endangerment. Letters of recommendation from Boyd and his parents helped persuade the court to place Goodrum on three years' probation.
Goodrum returned to Safford where he lived with a girlfriend, Regina Taylor, who was pregnant with his second child. She moved out suddenly in July 1989 after being treated at a Safford hospital for an assault.
In that attack, Goodrum is alleged to have choked her until she nearly passed out.
The emergency-room report on the incident recommended that Taylor "avoid contact with boyfriend to avoid further abuse." Soon after, Stephanie and Goodrum began dating. Once again, Goodrum's temper flared. On November 14, 1989, while still on probation for his felony conviction for assaulting two police officers, he allegedly beat Stephanie with a crowbar, Graham County Sheriff's Department records show.
He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Bond was set at $13,700, and Goodrum spent the next month in jail. During that time, he also admitted violating his probation by drinking and using drugs.
Stephanie dropped the assault charge in January 1990, after Goodrum agreed to go to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Globe. Four months later, on April 16, 1990, Stephanie married Goodrum in the Greenlee County Courthouse. Boyd attended the service as a witness.
The turbulent relationship continued after Stephanie and Goodrum were married. By early 1992, Stephanie had petitioned for divorce. She also had begun seeing Robert Gonzales.
Stephanie bounced back and forth between the men, which triggered hostilities. Each time she moved, she gave her new partner negative information about the other man. She also was acting as a snitch for DPS in Graham County, says former DPS officer Bill Mulleneaux, who now is in charge of security at Eastern Arizona College.
Mulleneaux signed a search warrant in May 1992 that led to a raid on Gonzales' trailer home in search of cocaine. The warrant was based on information from a confidential source. The search turned up nothing. Gonzales says he believes the informant was Stephanie.
In the fall of 1992, Stephanie reconciled with Goodrum and moved back to his trailer at the tire lot. By the following spring, she moved out once again. But Gonzales says he wouldn't let her back into his home unless she divorced Goodrum.
Stephanie refiled divorce papers in early 1993 and the divorce was granted on April 13, 1993. She moved briefly into an apartment for a couple of months, before taking most of her possessions back to her mother's house.
She split her time between Gonzales' home and her mother's home for the next few months. But in July, she had a falling-out with Gonzales and decided to return, once again, to Goodrum. As a final stab at Gonzales, Stephanie allegedly stole several blank checks Gonzales had already signed. Gonzales routinely signed blank checks so Stephanie could buy household and business supplies.
Instead of purchasing supplies, Stephanie cashed them for $2,400. She and Goodrum then took off on a two-week vacation up the West Coast, spending Gonzales' money. She occasionally sent taunting postcards to Gonzales, bragging about how much fun they were having at his expense.
Before leaving on the vacation, Goodrum also allegedly called Gonzales' house and left a threatening message on Gonzales' answering machine, saying he would kill both Gonzales and Stephanie.
The tape was heard by Gonzales, his attorney, Evans Farnsworth, and a paralegal. It was turned over to the Graham County Sheriff's Department in mid-July. But Graham County Attorney Jack Williams declined to press charges against Goodrum for violating the harassment injunctions that were in place against both men.