LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – On the verge of tears, the relatives of Machika Goodjoint each stepped forward in courtroom 10C Tuesday and pleaded with a Clark County District Court judge to give Goodjoint’s killer the maximum sentence.
Vanessa Harvey, 48, pleaded guilty in court to the charge of voluntary manslaughter, admitting to bludgeoning Goodjoint to death with a metal pipe outside of a convenience store on the East Side of Las Vegas in Nov. 2021.
Harvey seemed to smirk during Goodjoint’s family’s emotional appeal to Judge Jacqueline Bluth, who ultimately slapped Harvey with four-to-10 years in prison – a sentence agreed upon ahead of time by prosecutors and Harvey’s defense attorney, who sat next to her during the sentencing.
Bluth, responding to the family’s pleas for Harvey to serve more time, said that was the best she could do.
“Under this charge, the maximum she can do is is four-to-10 years under the law,” Bluth said of Harvey.
Goodjoint’s family said the sentence is insulting.
“That’s ridiculous,” Theresa Green, Goodjoint’s sister, who is left to raise Goodjoint’s two youngest children said.
“The justice system is just really, really screwed up,” Rozlin Byron, Goodjoint’s aunt said. Byron was so emotional speaking to Judge Bluth in court that she turned around mid-sentence and stormed out.
“I don’t care about nothing right now,” Byron said. “I will never get my baby back.”
According to Harvey’s arrest report, surveillance video from a business near Owens Avenue and H Street shows Harvey walking toward Goodjoint and another person and getting into a struggle with them, knocking Goodjoint to the ground, and then striking her with what appeared to be a long metal pole. She then struck the other person in the back of the head knocking him to the ground.
The report said the video showed Harvey striking both victims multiple times and then walking into a parking lot off of Owens where she was later arrested. Police said Harvey “refused to identify herself and was uncooperative.” Body camera footage from police at the scene corroborates that.
At the time of the arrest, she was sitting on a large, narrow piece of metal that appeared to have blood on one end, according to the report.
Goodjoint died at the scene.
Voluntary manslaughter is a Category B Felony in Clark County. Court records show that Harvey had also been charged with attempted murder and second-degree murder before her plea to the lesser charge.
Harvey is being credited with 548 days of time served between the time of her arrest and Tuesday’s sentencing. Because of that time served Harvey could be released as soon as the end of 2025.
Harvey has previously served time in the Nevada Dept. of Corrections on drug charges in 2008.