Former boyfriend and prime suspect in SC woman’s death: ‘I want to be cleared’

(WSPA) – The prime suspect in the disappearance of Nicole Goodlett talked exclusively to 7News.  Goodlett went missing from her home on Loblolly Rd in March of 2014.

Jerald “Jay” Howard has been The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office’s suspect since the disappearance. Her remains found in Howard’s hometown of Huger in Berkeley County in November of 2015.

Howard and Goodlett have twin girls together.

Howard released this statement ahead of the interview:

First and foremost, I am saddened to find out about Nicole. I’ve always held hope that there would be a different outcome. The entire time that she was missing, I kept the truth of all that had taken place to myself and a small circle of friends and family. With the recent findings, it has been advised to me that everything has to be told. I don’t do this to defame or defile Nicole or her memory. The truth has to be told to protect my family and anyone that may make the unfortunate mistakes I made that would put them in a situation resembling mine.

>

> Nicole Goodlett was not a victim of mine, nor was I a victim of hers. The only victims of mine, because of the affair she and I had, were my wife and children. When I met Nicole, I wasn’t in a good place spiritually. I had lost my way and for whatever reason, I came upon someone who was just as lost as I. She became someone I confided in. Eventually, the lines of friendship were crossed and I began to further lose my way. I found out Nicole was pregnant and I left my family, victimizing them.

>

> It wasn’t long after I left my family that I realized the troubles that I could bring upon my family. Within a few months of being around Nicole, I learned that she was once heavily involved in drug trades. Growing and distributing marijuana, as well as trafficking cocaine, were things she said she wanted to leave in her past. As soon as I learned these things, I should’ve just left. But I had already ruined my family and had nothing else to hold on to. Shortly after she told me about her dealings with drugs, people started showing up at her home at unannounced times. There was a friend of hers, that lived with her, who told me about her being in danger because she was unable to continue making payments to them due to the fact that she was pregnant. I asked her about it and she said it was true and that the amount of money owed was substantial. I was in the process of renting an apartment in Greenville, SC when she told me that she needed to hide. She told me she couldn’t get another rental at the moment and even if she could, if it were in her name, the people looking for her would find her. I felt obligated to make sure that the babies she was carrying would be okay. I told her she could stay at the place I was going to rent in Greenville. She said she felt she would be found in Greenville so I rented a place further away in Travellers Rest, SC.

>

> Months passed and things were quiet for a while. She would still receive threatening messages through communication apps on her iPad and phone, but she wouldn’t respond. She said once the babies were born, she would be able to pay them back. Eventually, I began to receive phone calls at work asking about details in regards to where I stay. When I wouldn’t give the answers they wanted, the person on the other end would become rude and nasty. When I inquired about who they were or what agency they were with, they would hang up. The calls became more and more frequent and there was no more pretending. They were demanding to know her whereabouts and threatening me and my loved ones. They mentioned the address where my wife and children lived. They mentioned my parents address. They even knew my siblings’ names. I told Nicole about the calls and told her I was going to the police. She told me that the only thing going to the police would do is get her arrested. I had no names. I had no numbers. All I had were threats. She said she would communicate with them again and handle it.

>

> Over the next few weeks, she would go to different stores, Wal Marts, CVS, etc and put hundreds and hundreds of dollars on different Money pack cards and send the information to those looking for her. She sent over twenty thousand dollars one money pack at a time. Everything was fine until she ran out of money. It took a while, but eventually the home I rented in Travellers Rest was found. Her vehicle in the yard was vandalized and spray painted with threats one evening. An insurance investigator came and saw the damages and knew right away that it was personal. She borrowed more money on credits and started making more payments. By this time, I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually spent. I couldn’t understand how I allowed myself to be so stupid. I had completely isolated myself from my friends and family for fear that I would cause harm to come their way. But I couldn’t continue to live the way I was. I had to leave. Even though the babies weren’t born yet, I had to leave. I started looking for places closer to my family in an attempt to salvage whatever relationship with them that I could.

>

> I found a place closer to my family and I let Nicole know that I’d help take care of my responsibilities, but I couldn’t live the way I was any longer. I was slowly finding my way back to a better place when the craziness got even crazier. She had told me that the people she were dealing with were really dangerous, but I didn’t really know what to think until she called me screaming and crying. She told me that she didn’t care if I went back to my wife. She said she just needed my help for one more month, just until the babies were born. She told me that she needed to move out of the place in Travellers Rest that night, or tomorrow she’d be dead and the babies she carried would be cut from her stomach. I believed her. A friend of hers and I began to pack everything that we could and make multiple trips getting everything from the home. We were tired and wanted to stop. We mentioned coming back at a later time to retrieve things and she began to panic and move things until she started having contractions. We made her stop and moved the rest of what we could. I took her and her friend to the home I rented to be closer to my family.

>

> The next day I realized how serious everything was. I was at work when I received a call from the property manager of the home in Travellers Rest. He asked me if I was okay and could he do anything for me. I asked him what he was talking about and he told me that he was sorry to inform me that the home I was renting burnt to the ground last night. I sat down on the ground and hung the phone up. Shortly after, I found out Nicole was going into labor. When I finally saw my daughters, I loved them immediately. I now knew how dangerous the people she was dealing with really were and I needed help.

>

> I remember this conversation like it happened yesterday. I called Nicole’s father. I couldn’t console myself as I thought about how my actions could put so many that I loved, cared, and lived for in jeopardy. I said to him, sir, I need your help. He asked me what was going on. I told him that I wasn’t really sure, but your daughter is in a lot of trouble. He said don’t beat around the bush with me. What’s going on? I told him I really didn’t know for sure, but that there were people looking for his daughter and that I believed they wanted to hurt her. Immediately he asked me does this have anything to do with drugs. I told him yes. I told him I didn’t know what to do. He asked me if I had gone to the police yet. I told him that I hadn’t because Nicole felt she’d be arrested. I asked him should I go to the police. He told me no. He told me pretty much what she had. He said I had no names and he knew she wouldn’t tell. He said I couldn’t prove anything and he knew all about these types of situations. He said we needed to get a Uhaul truck, pack everything up and drive to Texas to stay with them. I told him I couldn’t just up and leave my family. I told him I wouldn’t do that. I told him his daughter wasn’t safe and I wasn’t sure how safe the babies were. I told him that he needed to take them back to Texas with him. His exact words to me were, you have to come as well. It has to be a package deal.

>

>  Mr. Goodlett told me not to mention anything to his wife about what was taking place, but she would be coming down to help out. He said he would discuss it with her and that he didn’t want to scare her. By this time, the relationship Between Nicole and I had been over for months. Still, I loved my babies and wanted to make sure they were okay. When Mrs. Goodlett arrived, she was afraid. She asked if it was safe at the home and did they have to worry about being shot. I said I really don’t know. I wasn’t staying there any longer. I had moved back in with my family. Nicole’s brother was upset that his mother was staying there and felt as if his mother was being put in danger. He talked their mother into staying with he and his girlfriend instead.

>

>   Mr. Goodlett informed me that Nicole and he discussed all that was taking place and she wasn’t going back to Texas. She felt that now that the babies were born, she could make the necessary money to pay back her debts. I didn’t think it was a good idea, but it wasn’t my decision. In the following weeks, I learned that she had turned to prostitution in order to make the necessary monies that she needed. I learned that she had clients in multiple cities in South Carolina as well as other states. When she would go and make her money, I would be with my daughters. I didn’t ask her any questions. My only concern was that they were safe. As more time went by, her behavior became more and more erratic. She started speaking of suicide and would make comments about how one of the babies cried so much that she just wanted to smother her. I told her best friend and I told her mother that she wasn’t doing well at all and that they needed to help her. She was leaving the babies for days at a time. Her best friend would watch them during the day and I would watch them at night. This went on until February.

>

>   In February, I was at work when I received calls and messages from her. Once again, she was frantic like the night the house was set on fire. She told me that she had stopped making the payments because they were just going to make her pay forever and she couldn’t live this way anymore. She told me that they were coming for her and that I needed to come and get the babies or they would sell them away. She said she had to go and make some money. When she told me that, I left work and drove directly to her. The babies bags were packed and they were already in their car seats. I packed them into my vehicle and just began to drive around town. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I was trying to make things work with my family and now, not only did I have two 6 month old babies with me, I had nowhere to take them. Finally, I told my parents that I needed their help and that I needed them to watch the babies until I could make arrangements for them to live with me.

>

>   Before I drove to Huger with the babies, I went by my family’s home to let them know that I loved them and I was sorry for everything. I felt like there was a chance that I wouldn’t be able to tell them that again. I saw Nicole once more. She asked me run off and hide with her. She said she had friends in Columbia and we could hide out there for a while. I told her that everything I did with her was a mistake and I wasn’t going to live afraid anymore. I told her that she had to get herself together for her kids and I’d make a way for them until she got back. That was the last I saw her. We had limited communication with one another for a while and then it all stopped. I reached out to her best friend on numerous occasions trying to get her to communicate with me for the sake of the babies. Selfishly, I knew I couldn’t make things work with my family as long as they were in my possession. He communicated with me about the conversations they were having, but she wouldn’t call me. I could see on the phone records where he and she would talk. Finally, I called her father and told him that his daughter left to go and make some money, and I’ve been trying to deal with these babies.

>

>   For weeks, she had been gone and no one wanted to say anything. I was the one that made it known. I was the one who told her parents, but the police made it out as if I didn’t say anything. I was told that I was going to be used to find out what really happened to her. I gave the police telephones containing threatening messages from the people that were trying to get in touch with her. I told them about all that had taken place from the very beginning. I sat in the police station and one of the sergeants, Sgt. Hutchinson, took me into her office. She turned her computer screen to me and showed me record after record that Nicole had that was somehow sealed. She said she’d never seen anything like that before.  She said she knew that she was involved in some serious drug activity and I needed to tell them all that I knew. I didn’t know much of anything, so I couldn’t tell them. The Sgt. told me that she was in a lot of trouble and she had seen instances like this before and that I needed to take those babies and hide them far away from this mess. So I took them back to my parents.

>

>     I continued to cooperate with the police in every way that I could. I continued to try and get in touch with Nicole and let her know how serious everything was. From time to time I would receive a message through an app or Facebook. I begged her to please call someone. I sent her messages asking her to return my phone that she was in possession of, because I knew it contained information that would detail every aspect of what had been taking place for the last year. When I received a text from her stating that she was upset that I had starting placing all of her belongings in bags, I knew that she had been by the rented home. I went there and on the sofa was the cell phone I had been asking for as well as a handwritten letter that she left detailing how afraid she was and how sorry she was for putting me through all that went on. I grabbed the phone and the letter and I took it with me. The following morning I was going to meet with a detective and he began to say that I had done something to her and he accused me of everything. I told him he was crazy and I was going to see my lawyer. Instead of giving the phone and letter to him, I wanted to give it to my lawyer instead. Both items were in my possession when I was there. He then informed me that he had a search warrant to search the home of my family and if I didn’t let them in, he would have them break the door in. I didn’t want that. I told him that I would go and opens the door. I let them know that I didn’t have a key, but the door behind the garage was open. I got out of the car with my hands in the air and the garage door opener in my hand. I said I have to go through the garage. I pressed the button and the garage started going up, and once it was about halfway up, it started coming down. This was due to someone that cut the lawn running their riding lawnmower into it. I ducked under the door as it was coming down, walked directly into the house and opened the front door within 5 seconds. I come out and I’m arrested for obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. The officer, Detective Gary, searches me and finds the hand written letter. He asks me why I have a love letter from Nicole. I tell him it’s not a love letter. When I go to the jail, when I change my clothes, they find the phone that I had in the inner pocket of the pants I was wearing. They make out as if I was trying to hide or go and get something, but the truth is I had those two items all along, and detective Gary asked me to open the door to the house knowing I could only get in through the garage.

>

>  I posted bail that night and stayed at home. He entire time the police knew where I was and were in contact with my lawyer. Never was I missing or in the run. They could contact me or my lawyer at anytime. But it was portrayed through the media as if I was on the run. Time and time again, they spoke about the phone that was in my possession, but not once have they mentioned the handwritten letter detailing how scared and afraid she was for her life. My lawyer also submitted detailed logs that she kept of her dealings with prostitution to the police. Never has that been mentioned either.

>

>    Now here we are. Everyone is wondering how parts of remains ended up where they are and are making their own assumptions. I can’t answer that, because I don’t know the answer. What I do know is for months, and then years, my name and face have been attached to her being missing. Now, all of a sudden after two years, pieces of her remains are found in an extremely public place that I have ties to. We find that to be very peculiar.

> My family and friends are worried, but I don’t want you to be. I know the entire truth and the police know the entire truth as well. This is only a piece of it. Don’t worry about me. I’m not afraid. The only victims of mine, came from my affair with Nicole. Those victims were my wife and children. Not once did I ever harm her in anyway. I lose sleep each and every night about the damage that I’ve done to my family. I’m sorry for not being able to better help Nicole, but I didn’t physically harm her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s