Trial for caregiver accused of murder begins Tuesday

SAN DIEGO - Problems with juror availability Monday caused a one-day delay of opening statements in the trial of a caregiver accused of killing an 89-year-old Rancho Bernardo man and draining his bank accounts of more than $500,000.

Denise Goodwin, 47, is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain in the death of Gerald Eugene Rabourn, who disappeared in October 2010. His body has not been found.

A jury was sworn in last week, but two jurors subsequently told Judge Charles Rogers that their employers would pay for only two weeks of the estimated six- to 10-week trial.

The judge rescheduled opening statements for Tuesday.

According to prior court testimony, Goodwin was hired through a senior service agency to care for Rabourn's 91-year-old wife, Carolyn, who died of cancer on Sept. 29, 2010. At Goodwin's arraignment in August 2011, the prosecution alleged that Rabourn trusted Goodwin with all his assets, and within days of his wife's death, the defendant began converting those assets for her own personal use.

Police said there was an abrupt end to Rabourn's family contacts, cell phone use and financial activity after Oct. 21, 2010.

Mary Weaver, Rabourn's daughter from his first marriage, testified during the defendant's preliminary hearing that she tried in October 2010 to persuade her father to move to the Midwest, but he said "he was planning to live with Denise."

She said she last spoke to her father on Oct. 19, 2010, but didn't report him missing until the following February, when she didn't get a birthday card from him.

Goodwin was arrested in July 2011 as she boarded a plane for a European vacation.

If convicted, Goodwin faces life in prison without parole.

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