In two previous posts on this subject, I wrote of how Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone’s office has doggedly pursued a suspect in the unsolved murder of Dr. Linda Goudey, a Stoneham obstetrician who was found strangled to death in the trunk of her car in September of 1993. That suspect is one Richard Stryker, M.D., the former boyfriend of Dr. Goudey. While Stryker was always a prime suspect in Dr. Goudey’s death, authorities were never able to assemble enough evidence to formally charge Stryker with her murder. However, Dr. Goudey’s family, led by her mother Marguerite Rafuse, brought a civil case against Stryker, seeking to hold him civilly and financially responsible for the death of Dr. Goudey. (For a refresher on how that legal mechanism works, see my last post on this subject.) Goudey’s family won that civil case, and secured a $15 million judgment against Stryker.
In response, Stryker hatched a plot to escape that $15 million jury award. His plan centered on securing a new trial on that civil judgment by producing a “new” witness who would testify that Dr. Goudey was last seen alive on the night of her death with another man, not with Stryker. Stryker devised the alibi scheme with a patient and friend of his, Woburn handyman Richard Chambers and with another man, Craig Pizzano. If the plan worked, Stryker was to pay both men over $100,000.00. But Pizzano eventually cracked, and admitted his role in the plan to authorities. That led the whole plot to unravel, and Stryker was arrested and charged last July with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit perjury. After spending several weeks being held in jail, Chambers then also broke down and admitted his involvement in the scheme. In exchange for his cooperation in this case, Chambers will likely avoid prison time.
Based on the summation of these developments, Stryker today pleaded guilty to multiple counts of perjury, subornation of perjury, and conspiracy charges in connection with his attempt to escape the $15 million judgment the Rafuse family secured against him. He was sentenced by Middlesex Superior Court Judge Diane Kottmyer to four years and one day in State Prison followed by fours years’ probation. Conditions of his probation include that Stryker pay restitution to the family of Goudey for their costs associated with the motion for new trial, and refrain from contacting the victims or any of the witnesses in the case. Commenting on the sentencing, Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone said, “We were presented with a very interesting and large ball of yarn. The result of our unraveling that ball of yarn, were Timothy Stryker’s pleas of guilty today.” “Tim Stryker orchestrated the most serious of frauds upon the court … and attempted to frustrate our criminal investigation into the murder of Dr. Goudey. Her family has had to live with the anguish of Linda’s death for more than 15 years.” Goudey’s mother Marguerite Rafuse, 80 years old now, issued a statement read aloud to the court. In the statement she said the perjury scheme was a “diabolical” plan, and called Stryker, “unfeeling, calculating, manipulative and abusive.” “I am sure part of the reason for the plan of lies was retaliation in anger against me for the civil judgment,” wrote Rafuse.
As part of the plea deal, Stryker is unable to benefit financially from the case in any way. Prior to his guilty plea today, Stryker also entered into an agreement with the Massachusetts Board of Medicine not to practice medicine in the Commonwealth in the future, according to Leone. But the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine could now revoke Stryker’s medical license altogether. Leone is continuing to investigate the murder of Goudey, and Stryker remains the prime suspect, he said. In the meantime, for the next four years at least, Stryker will remain a guest of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, in state prison.
While I’m a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, my everyday practice goals revolve around securing a just outcome to any situation. As long as Stryker was provided due process and the opportunity for a fair trial, I have no problem at all seeing this man escorted off to a cell. My best wishes to the Rafuse family, and hopefully, this will bring some measure of justice for them.