Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mentally Ill Inmate Scheduled for Execution

US District Court Judge ruled that there was no categorical prohibition on the execution of people with mental illness

Jonathan Marcus Green is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30, 2010. Green was sentenced to death for the 2000 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Montgomery County, Texas. If the execution is carried out Green will be the 14th person in Texas and the 30th person nationally executed in 2010.

On October 5, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review of the district courts dismissal of Green's Writ of Habeas Corpus. He has exhausted his state and federal appeal rights. There is no pending litigation.

The facts leading to Green's conviction are chilling. According to the Texas Attorney General, on the evening of June 21, 2000, 12-year-old Christina Neal disappeared after leaving a friend’s home in the small community of Dobbin, TX.

The girl’s family began looking for her the next day, after determining that she had not stayed overnight at a friend’s house. Christina’s glasses were found along a road near the Neal home. The glasses were “smashed and broken.”

On June 23, the girl’s father, Victor Neal, asked his sister to look for Christina while he was at work. Christina had run away before, so Victor told his sister to report her as a runaway if she could not find her. Later that day, having failed to locate Christina, the sister reported her missing to a Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy. Officers then joined the family in searching for Christina.

On June 26, the FBI joined in the search. Christina's panties were found at the edge of the woods across from the Neal home, and Christina's bracelet and necklace were found along a pathway in the woods.

On June 28, investigators spoke with Jonathan Green, who also lived in Dobbin, because his wallet was discovered in the vicinity of Christina’s disappearance. Green said he had no information concerning Christina's disappearance, and that he was either at home or at his neighbor's house on the night she disappeared. He gave investigators permission to search his home and property, with the condition that he be present. Investigators performed a cursory search of the house and property, but they noticed nothing significant.

On July 19, a man who lived on the property behind Green's, told investigators that Green had an unusually large fire in his burn pile the day after Christina disappeared. A few days later, investigators went to Green's home and asked if they could search his property again, including his burn pile. Green again consented, but insisted that he be present during the search. An FBI agent smelled a distinct odor emanating from a disturbed section of ground which he identified as “some sort of decaying body.” The investigation team then began to dig up the disturbed area. Green, who had been cooperative up to that point, became angry and told the officers to get off his property.

The investigative team returned to Green's property later that night with a search warrant. They discovered that part of the burn pile had been excavated, leaving what appeared to be a shallow grave. They also smelled the “extremely foul, fetid odor” of a “dead body in a decaying state.”

An officer then arrived with a “cadaver dog,” trained to detect human remains. The dog repeatedly went to the side of a recliner in the house. An FBI agent looked behind the recliner and found human remains in a bag that were identified as Christina’s. An autopsy concluded that Christina was sexually assaulted and then strangled.

During the course of the autopsy, various materials were recovered from Christina's body.

DNA testing on black hairs found on Christina’s body indicated a higher probability the hairs came from Green.

A Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab criminalist testified that many of the fibers recovered from Christina's body matched fiber samples seized from Green's property and residence. On the panties that were recovered near the Neal home five days after Christina had disappeared and nearly a month before her body was found, investigators found a fiber that had characteristics identical to carpet in Green's residence.

On July 15, 2002, a jury convicted Jonathan Green of the capital murder of Christina Neal. At the sentencing phase, at which the prosecution presented evidence of previous acts of violence by the defendant, the jury concluded that there was a reasonable probability that Jonathan Green would commit future acts of criminal violence constituting a threat to society, and that there was insufficient mitigating evidence to warrant a life sentence. He was sentenced to death.

In an appeal filed in federal District Court in 2007, Jonathan Green’s lawyers argued that he was suffering from a serious mental disorder and was “actively psychotic”, experiencing a variety of hallucinations as well as paranoia. In February 2008, the US District Court Judge ruled that there was no categorical prohibition on the execution of people with mental illness under, and the claim that Green was incompetent for execution could not be ruled upon until his execution was imminent.

No comments:

Post a Comment