EL CENTRO – The Imperial County murder trial of People vs. Neil Evan Green resumed August 1 with the District Attorney’s office continuing prosecution of the case involving a son who allegedly beat to death his 62-year-old father following an argument.
According to court documents, on July 6, 2012, victim Melvin Green was allegedly beaten to death by his son, Neil Evan Green, with an aluminum baseball bat inside their El Centro home. Charges against the suspect include one count of murder with malice and forethought in connection with the death.
The suspect, Neil Green, claimed he and his father had an argument that apparently escalated into a full-blown fight with his drunken father allegedly trying to beat him. The defense claims that the suspect’s only means of defending himself against his angry father was to use the bat.
On August 1, Prosecutor Marco Nunez, Imperial County Deputy District Attorney, presented several character witnesses in an effort to show that Melvin Green was not the drunken abuser the defense was claiming.
Aprel Remkus, daughter of victim Melvin Green and sister of the defendant, was the first to take the stand to give her testimony.
Remkus testified that she would keep in contact with both her father and her brother. However, she said conversations with her brother were not always positive. She testified that Neil Green would argue, always complaining about their father, and that he was, in general, ungrateful for everything his father did for him.
“In a sense, that I would talk to him like, ‘Go to school,’ or ‘Get a job,’ to motivate him,” said Remkus about their conversations. “But then it became very toxic to talk to him.”
The last time Remkus saw her father alive was a few weeks before his death on Father’s Day weekend. She testified that she was staying at the Marriott Hotel near the Imperial Valley Mall with her eight-year-old son and her father, Melvin Green visited her there. She claimed he told her it was safer to meet at the hotel than her coming to the house.
According to Remkus’ testimony, the suspect joined them later in the day, and the atmosphere changed. Remkus testified that Neil Green started a confrontation with her, and according to her, “Had this evil look in his eyes. He started to come right at me.”
Melvin Green was the one who had to calm the defendant down with a quick, “Let’s calm down, buddy.” The two then left the hotel. The next day Remkus left the valley for her home in San Clemente.
Jill Cremeans, Green’s defense attorney, asked on redirect if Remkus’ story was told to the two detectives on scene at the time of the crime. Remkus responded that she was not sure if she remembered telling them or not, saying she had been overwhelmed by the situation and it had been four years ago.
Other character witnesses called by the prosecution included co-workers from the El Centro Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility where Melvin Green had worked. The five witnesses all stated that Melvin Green had the demeanor of a calm, collected man. Even in his line of work, he remained steadfast and sometimes acted as a mediator between officers and detainees to keep the peace, according to his co-workers’ testimonies.
Defense attorney Cremeans also asked all the witnesses about Melvin’s attitude when faced with problem detainees, and if he ever used excessive force. She raised questions about how drunk he would get, but most of the witnesses said their relationship with Green was purely work-related. During get togethers after work hours, the victim was known for not drinking in excess, according to his coworkers.