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Judge of Georgia Court of Appeals found shot dead behind home in Albany



The Georgia Court of Appeals was found dead behind their home in Albany on Saturday morning, authorities said.

60-year-old Stephen Goss was dead from a gunshot wound when police in Obani arrived at Greenwood Drive home just after 8 a.m. His body was found in a wooded area.

"The investigation is ongoing, but it does not appear to be a homicide," Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said in a statement.

The Albany Police Department has requested respect for Goss's family as the investigation continues. All resources are set aside to determine the circumstances surrounding his death, the agency said in a news release.

Goss was appointed to the Court of Appeal in August 201

8 by then Governor Nathan Dale. Prior to that appointment, he was a judge at the Albany High Court for nearly 20 years.

Following the news of his death, Governor Brian Kemp offers his support to the Goss family.

"A native Georgian trusted advisor and integrity man, Court of Appeal Judge Stephen Goss will be sorely missed by countless people in our state and nation," Kemp tweeted. "The Camp family asks God to give comfort to their loved ones, friends and colleagues in this difficult time."

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Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal Christopher J. McFadden said the court and its employees were deeply saddened by the sudden death of their friend and colleague.

"He was a soft-spoken, disobedient person," McFadden said in a statement. "The more he got to know him, the more he liked and respected him. He was a judge to whom other judges turned for guidance, a nationally recognized expert on accountability courts. On a personal level, I was hoping for a long and deep friendship.

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton also issued a statement of condolence.

"Judge Goss was a man who brought so much dignity and compassion to justice throughout this great country," he said. "He was a national figure known for his work on mental health and drug treatment programs. His legacy is as great as our sense of loss. Our court and the judicial system of this country extend our deepest condolences to the Goss family.

In 2002, Goss founded the first state court program for the treatment of mental health and drug abuse in Dagerty County. According to the Court of Appeal, this is one of the earliest such programs in the country.

The program assists those with criminal trials or pending charges, many of whom have a long history of substance abuse or mental illness diagnosed. only four in the country.

Goss is a former chairman of the judges of the Court of Accountability of Georgia and has served on numerous state and national national criminal justice committees.

A longtime friend, Judge Amanda Mercier served with Goss during the Supreme Court and later on the Court of Appeal.

"He was a man I considered a mentor for many years," she said. "He set an example of everything an exceptional judge should be. But more importantly, he was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. He quietly gave so much and asked for nothing in return.

Goss is a survivor of his wife, Dee De Goss, a high school humanities teacher. The couple has two daughters, Collins and Clark, and a son, Clint.

An autopsy will be performed in the coming days. Authorities are currently not suspected of playing fake.

– Please return to AJC.com for updates.

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