Green guilty, sentenced to life in prison

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 6, 2002

Derrell Antonio Green will likely die in prison under the sentence ordered by Judge Isadore Patrick Thursday.

Green, 28, deemed guilty of murder, rape, kidnapping and sexual battery by Warren County Circuit Court jurors after a four-day trial was sentenced to life plus a 40-year and a 30-year sentence to be served consecutively. Patrick also imposed a second 30-year sentence for the sexual battery, but it is to be served concurrently if Green lives that long.

“I don’t like the term domestic violence,'” said Assistant District Attorney John Bullard, who prosecuted the case. “This is a case of domestic dominance. This is about Derrell Green’s complete inability to accept the fact that his relationship with Cynthia Green was over. He resorted to an attitude of, If I can’t have her, nobody can,’ and he exercised that attitude in a brutal and violent fashion. And, after he had killed her, he turned to dominate the other woman in the room.”

Cynthia Green, who was not married or related to Derrell but did have a child with him, died of strangulation last Dec. 11 at her 206 Meadow Lane home after an hours-long struggle with her estranged boyfriend.

A key witness was a friend of Cynthia Green’s who testified in open court that she saw what happened. She is not being identified because testimony indicated she was kidnapped, assaulted and raped after Derrell Green killed Cynthia, who was 24.

The life sentence is required by law for murder convictions. District Attorney Gil Martin’s office asked for additional life terms for the kidnap and rape charges, but jurors deferred to Patrick.

Derrell Green testified in his own defense Thursday, essentially claiming it was a balanced fight between him and the woman with whom he had been in a seven-year relationship.

“I hit twice, not hard,” he said. “We were fighting. She was hitting me too.” He also denied the other charges, but jurors apparently believed the second woman who quoted him as saying, “This bitch is going to die tonight.” Derrell Green was in the house when the two women arrived.

Spectators had grown to about 40 by the time the jury returned about 8:15 p.m., an unusually high number for a trial in Warren County.

Testifying for the state were 13 witnesses among whom were four Vicksburg police officers, the doctor who performed the autopsy and a state crime-lab analyst supported many details of the eyewitness account of the 90-minute period during which the attacks occurred.

Court-appointed defense attorneys Pat McNamara and James “Buck” Penley cross-examined the state’s witnesses, aiming much of their questioning at highlighting inconsistencies in those witnesses’ testimony.

“I do not believe the state has proved any one of these charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” McNamara said in his closing argument. Penley focused his closing argument on omissions he said the prosecution made.

Other testimony indicated that Derrell Green had been convicted of domestic violence against Cynthia Green three times. And, as recently as six days before her death, he had been arrested outside her home for trespassing and was warned against making harassing phone calls to her.