Lauren Evans and Virginia Allen at the Daily Signal interviewed Nikki Goeser on her book “Stalked And Defenseless.”
(Friday, March 6, 2020)
The interview starts this way.
Allen: Your book “Stalked And Defenseless: How Gun Control Helped My Stalker Murder My Husband in Front of Me” is about your husband Ben, really. And so we wanted to start and talk about him. What was Ben like and how did you meet him?
Goeser: Ben was a sweetheart. He was just a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, lighthearted person. He was always smiling. He was the type of person that if a stranger came into the karaoke venue where I worked at, he would introduce the person around the room to all of the regulars to try and make them feel welcome.
Ben was also a big brother for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. He was a big brother to a child by the name of Trent. And Trent’s father was in prison and his mother really wanted Trent to have a positive male role model in his life. Someone that could spend time with him. And so Ben would take him go kart riding and to the bowling alley, movies. Trent would come over and ride the four wheeler at our house, or I’d cook dinner for him. And Ben was just a remarkable person. He was a really sweet person.
Allen: And when did you all get married?
Goeser: We actually got married on New Year’s Eve.
Allen: That’s so romantic. What year was that?
Goeser: It was 2007.
Allen: 2007, wow. Why New Year’s Eve?
Goeser: You know, I like New Year’s Eve, and he liked New Year’s Eve. It’s a date you never forget.
Allen: I love that.
Lauren Evans: And it was not long after you were married that you had the worst day of your life. Can you walk us through what happened that night at the restaurant?
Goeser: Yes. I need to kind of, I guess, give you a backstory a little bit.
Goeser: So my husband Ben and I [had] a mobile karaoke business in the evenings. Now we both had regular corporate jobs during the day. So we did this just as a side job for a little extra gas and grocery money. And it was fun. We both enjoyed it.
I would run karaoke shows in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, for various karaoke jockeys, ladies that were calling in sick or they just didn’t feel like working or any number of reasons. And those venues downtown, they owned their own equipment. So I would just show up and run a karaoke show using their equipment.
And I did this quite often and there was a man that came in to the karaoke venue and Ben and I—Ben was always with me by the way, when I would run these shows, because all of our friends were there, the regulars were there and Ben would just enjoy the evening with them and sing and have fun and then we would drive home together after my shift.
A man showed up and we’d never seen him there. And at first we thought he was just a tourist because, you know, there’s tons of tourists that come through in Nashville. But then he started coming in more often and we figured, well, he must live here. And Ben introduced him around the venue to all of the regulars to try and make him feel welcome.
And this man, I remember there was one night where he gave me $100 tip. Now keep in mind, when you run karaoke shows, the way you make the majority of your money is through tips. So we take around a tip jar at various points throughout the night or you have one up there by the karaoke equipment.
And people will tip you—now, usually people give you a $5 bill. Maybe they’ll give you a $20 if they want to sing next and they want their name moved up the song list because they’re extremely impatient, and they’ve had a little, maybe too much to drink and are not thinking. Sometimes I would think, “Buddy, you need to save that $20 for a ride home.”
But this man gave me a $100 bill and I thought he had made a mistake. I thought he thought he pulled a $10 and he accidentally pulled a $100 so I took it back over to him and I was like, “Are you sure?” And he just gave me this look of accomplishment like he was sure. So I knew it wasn’t a mistake. I’m showing it to him.
And so I said, “Well, thank you.” And I just, it may sound silly now, but at the time I was thinking, “Obviously, he wants to sing a lot tonight.” And … I put him up to sing a lot throughout the evening.
I remember then he sent me a request on social media. At the time it was MySpace back in those days and I added him to my social media account just like I did the rest of my customers. It was a way for me to retain my customer base and let people know where I would be running shows …
He started sending me messages, the kind of private message section, that were normal. I mean, just customer interaction, “Great show. Really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to come to the next one,” or whatever. Normal conversation.
Well, then he started saying things, it started to progress in a different light. He would say things like I was attractive. And now keep in mind, when you work in a venue like that, men tell you that you are attractive and you say thank you and you go about your business. You hear it all the time, no biggie.
Then his messages started to progress even more and he started saying things like, maybe, “Ben is too old for you. It’s OK to admit that you may have made a mistake. Don’t you want to have children?” Just inappropriate. So I showed the messages to Ben and Ben’s like, “Obviously, this guy’s got a crush on you,” and he just kind of, he didn’t think that much of it.
And I was like, “Well, I’m going to have to set this guy straight because that’s not appropriate at all.” So I did. I just said, “Look, you’re fishing in the wrong lake. I’m happily married. What you’re saying is not appropriate.” … I didn’t delete him right away. I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. I’ve had to tell men before no, and they just move on. There’s other fish in the sea.
But he sent a message back that was the exact opposite of what he had been saying. He was trying to break me down by my physical appearance. He was really just being mean and obnoxious. And so I showed that message to Ben and we both agreed he needed to be deleted and blocked. And so that’s what I did.
I remember he came back into one of the karaoke venues and now he’s not singing, he’s stopped singing, he’s just standing in the middle of the crowd. Everyone’s having fun around him and he’s just standing there staring at me the whole time while I’m on the stage trying to run the show. And seems like he had come in again and again just staring at me.
And Ben at one point, Ben had told me on our way home, he said, “You know that guy … ” I don’t ever say his name because I don’t want to give him notoriety. My stalker, I guess, walked up to Ben and said, “Hey, Ben, how’s it going?” Like nothing had ever happened. He hadn’t sent me these strange, inappropriate messages.
And Ben just said, “Look, I read the messages that you sent my wife and I read what you had to say about me and you’re scaring her. Please leave my wife alone.”
And he said, “What? Is she mad at me? I swear it wasn’t me. I’ve got a crazy ex-girlfriend who knows how to hack into my account. It was her. It wasn’t me.” And of course Ben did not believe this phony explanation. Ben’s just like, “OK dude, whatever. Just leave her alone.”
And Ben turned around and joined the rest of our friends and this man left. We didn’t see him again for at least a solid month and I’m thinking it’s taken care of and he shows up to this restaurant where Ben and I ran our own mobile karaoke using our equipment. This restaurant was a good 30-, 35-minute drive away from downtown Nashville where this man normally went for karaoke.
Ben’s already asked him to leave me alone. I’ve deleted him, I’ve blocked him. It’s pretty clear we want nothing to do with him. And now he’s here. What’s he doing here?
I see him and I’m like, “Oh my God, this man is stalking me.” At that point I realized this is stalking. He’s not just a dedicated karaoke customer. He doesn’t have just a simple crush on me. This guy is stalking me.
So I turned to Ben and I said, “Honey, that man is here. The one that sent me the strange messages.” And he said, “Yeah.” He looked up and saw him and I said, “I don’t feel comfortable at all. I’m going to ask management to remove him.” And Ben said, “OK babe, do whatever you need to do.”
So I went to get management and … He had walked around behind Ben at the point that they confronted him and he had gone to the restroom before and he came back out and he’s standing behind Ben. Ben’s now at the karaoke equipment because I’m not there anymore to run the show, so Ben’s running it. Ben’s busy on the computer typing in songs and this man is just loitering behind him. He’s acting anxious, he’s looking all around the restaurant. I assume he’s looking for me.
I had walked the manager through the back kitchen up against a side brick wall where I could see out into the dining room, but he wouldn’t be able to see me and something just told me, “Don’t get involved. You’ve got no way to protect yourself. You don’t know what he’s capable of.”
Obviously, I’m concerned. I tell the manager, “Please get him out of here. He’s stalking me. Here’s what he has on.” And when they went to confront him.
I later learned during the trial that the manager said, “We need to ask you to leave.” And he said, “Why?” And she said, “Because you’re making someone here feel uncomfortable.” And he said, “Who?” And she said, “I think you know who.” And he said, “Well, I have to go to the restroom.” She said, “No, you’ve already been to the restroom. I think you need to leave now.”
And that’s when he pulled a .45 caliber handgun out from under his jacket. He had it in a shoulder holster. And at this moment he’s pulling the gun and I’m thinking, “Oh my God, I don’t have my gun.” And I can see the lights reflecting off of the metal slide.
He lowers the gun to Ben’s head and he fires one round and shoots Ben in the head and Ben falls to the ground and he stands over Ben and continues to fire six more rounds into him in front of myself and everyone in the middle of a busy restaurant. There was probably 50 people in there at the time.
And of course you can imagine the restaurant is complete pandemonium. People are running and screaming and trying to get out. And he had very calmly put the gun back inside of his jacket and started to walk around the corner into the pool table room to leave.
The rest of the interview is available here.