Houston Man Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Murdering, Dismembering Prostitute in 2022

Houston Man Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Murdering, Dismembering Prostitute in 2022

A Houston man was sentenced last week to 45 years in prison for murdering a teenage prostitute in 2022, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“This young woman, who had her whole life ahead of her, was brutally murdered for no reason by a man who then tried to cover it all up,” Ogg said. “And then he selfishly put everyone in his apartment complex at risk by starting a fire that could have killed others instead of taking responsibility for his acts.”

Henry David Cossette, 29, was convicted of murder during a two-day bench trial and sentenced by a judge late Wednesday for strangling 18-year-old Sara Ann Goodwin, of Spring, on Feb. 6, 2022.

Cossette picked up Goodwin on Houston’s infamous Bissonnet Track and took her to his Alief-area apartment. Cossette, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, attacked the 100-pound woman, who was 5 feet 5 inches tall. He ended up on top of her and strangled her.

Cossette then went to a grocery store and bought black trash bags. When he returned home, he dismembered Goodwin’s body in the bathtub and put separate parts in different black garbage bags to dispose of them. He then dumped the bags in a rural area off Beltway 8, about 13 miles from his home.

On the night of the murder, Goodwin had told a friend she was getting picked up and had the friend monitoring the location of her phone. It was in the area of Cossette’s apartment for several hours before it went dead. Her friend called police and filed a missing-persons report after Goodwin disappeared, giving the last known location.

About two weeks later, Cossette set a charcoal fire in his third-floor apartment to try to kill himself. The smoke led neighbors to call 911 and first responders with the Houston Fire Department and the Houston Police Department arrived to put out the smoldering fire and investigate.

He told the emergency responders that he was trying to kill himself because he had murdered a woman. He also told them where he dumped the trash bags, and Goodwin’s remains were recovered.

Forensic examiners were able to determine during an autopsy that she had been strangled.

Assistant District Attorney Helen Le, a chief in the trial bureau of the DA’s Office, prosecuted the case with Dana Nazarova, a chief in the DA’s Homicide Division.

Le noted that the case for Cossette’s guilt was clear-cut and that it was his decision to let a judge, not a jury, decide the case.

“He tried to burn down his apartment in order to kill himself, and then police and HFD got called out and he told them all he felt guilty about what he did,” Le said. “Guilt or innocence was never the issue in this case.”

Nazarova added that Cossette does not act or look particularly dangerous, and he probably did not cause the victim much concern when he picked her up.

“A big part of this crime is that he looks and behaves like a normal person that you might see every day,” she said. “But you never know what someone can actually do behind closed doors.”

She also noted that the victim was just 18 years old when she died.

“This young lady had her whole life ahead of her and did not deserve to lose her life,” Nazarova said. “She didn’t have a chance to fight back, and it was this defendant’s intentional acts that killed her — he was on top of her, choking her as she took her last breath.”