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Man pleads guilty to manslaughter as part of plea agreement in Katie Golden case

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 17:50:19-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A man pled guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea agreement in relation to the case of Katie Golden.

Cliff and Dawn Golden will tell you their daughter is missed every day.

“Opioids are everywhere, and it is a message that we feel strongly about. I don’t want to be here right now, but this is a message we fought hard for,” said Cliff Golden.

Katie was just 17 years old when she overdosed on heroin in April 2017. The Plant High School student was in her senior year and just weeks away from graduation.

“She was a really good person,” said Dawn Golden. “She always made me a better person.”

Now family and state prosecutors hope developments in the case send a strong and clear message.

Scott Harmon, an Assistant State Attorney, said in the summer of 2018, their office took a hard look at this case. He said they were able to mount a prosecution that included a defendant named Titan Goodson, who was Katie’s boyfriend.

“Through that prosecution, we were able to obtain his testimony against this dealer, Garland Layton, who had sold heroin to these two teenage kids, causing her death,” said Harmon.

State prosecutors explained Garland Layton pled guilty last week to manslaughter in relation to Golden’s case, as part of a plea agreement.

“He pled to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison followed by seven years of probation,” said Harmon.

Harmon called the case a tragedy and shared the message it sends.

“Even if you’re a dealer and you’re selling to a low-level, or a supplier and you’re selling to a low-level dealer, all the way up the chain, you’re going to be responsible, and you’re going to go to prison or jail if you sell this stuff on our streets that are killing so many people in our community," said Harmon.

Harmon also pointed out the significance of this case.

“This was our first opioid prosecution in this jurisdiction in many, many years, and the first to involve a teenager," said Harmon. "This case really led to the evolution of the opioid task force that we now have with the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.”

The development brings some closure years in the making as Golden’s parents look ahead.

“It is justice for Katie, yes,” said Cliff Golden.

“The main thing that I want to convey to all of you is that as a result of the plea that was entered on Thursday, we have taken a drug dealer off of the street. A drug dealer who sold heroin to young teenagers,” said Acting State Attorney Susan Lopez.

Suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren also sent a statement on the case:

“For five years, people in the system said we shouldn’t bother going after those responsible for Katie’s death. I made it my mission to deliver justice, and I knew all that fighting was worth it when I spoke with Katie’s family after the conviction was finalized last week.”