EL CENTRO â€” The Imperial County murder trial of People vs. Neil EvanÂ Green resumed last week with the defense team of the murder suspectÂ calling their own witnesses, including the defendant, to refute the prosecution’s case involving a son who allegedly beat to death his 62-year-old father following an argument.
Charges against the suspect include one count of murder with malice and forethought in connection with the death. The case has no witnesses as the crime allegedly occurredÂ at the home the father and son shared on Moiola Avenue in ElÂ Centro. Because of the lack of witnesses, the trial is expected to beÂ short.
Prosecutors claim Green attacked and killed his father for unknown reasons, while theÂ defense claims Green acted in self-defense after his fatherÂ began physically attacking the son at their home.
On August 1, Prosecutor Marco Nunez, Imperial County Deputy DistrictÂ Attorney, presented several character witnesses in an effort to showÂ that Melvin Green was not the drunken abuser the defense team was using to showÂ the suspect acted in self defense.
Aprel Remkus, daughter of victim Melvin Green and sister of theÂ defendant, was the first to take the stand to give her testimony. Remkus recountedÂ a previous meeting on Father’s Day with both her brother and father that resultedÂ in the defendant getting in an argument with Melvin Green.
Remkus’ accounts painted a picture of her brother as a volatile and angry man that her fathertried to reason with and calm down.
Other character witnesses called by the prosecution included co-workersÂ from the El Centro Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) detentionÂ facility where Melvin Green had worked. The five witnesses all statedÂ that Melvin Green had the demeanor of a calm, collected man. Even in hisÂ line of work, he remained steadfast and sometimes acted as a mediatorÂ between officers and detainees to keep the peace, according to hisÂ co-workers’ testimonies.
Green’s Defense Attorney, Jill Cremeans, also asked all the witnesses about Melvin’snattitude when faced with problem detainees, and if he ever usedÂ excessive force. She raised questions about how drunk he would get, butÂ most of the witnesses said their relationship with Green was purelyÂ work-related. During get-togethers after work hours, the victim wasÂ known for not drinking in excess, according to his coworkers.
Last week, the defense called up various witnesses,Â starting with Michael Rodriguez, a co-worker from the ImmigrationÂ detention center. Rodriguez testified that he was called when Melvin GreenÂ did not respond to a call about an inmate.Â “They said Mr. Green wouldÂ never respond in time, he responded two hours later,” Rodriguez said.
However, Rodriguez stated this only happened once and that he had a lotÂ of respect for Green.Other defense witnesses included Kenneth Zinn, a resident on the street where Melvin andÂ Neil Green lived, who testified he would see Melvin Green every other day at Walgreens buying a case of beer, and Jeremy Tucker of El Centro who stated that he interactedÂ with Melvin Green at his recycling facility. Tucker testified that on two occasions, Green brought in bags full of aluminum beer cans.
As the trial convened again on August 4, the defendant, Neil Green, tookÂ the stand and gave testimony claiming his father was abusive and a drunk.
Neil Green also testified about his father allegedly drinking beer on his days off when they went out for a drive and at home.
The defendant stated that his father was racist, and they would constantlyÂ argue, claiming that any little thing would irritate his father and set him off.
Neil Green’s testimony of the incident which led to his father’s death painted a picture of him calling Melvin Green a name which allegedly sent his father into a rage. Green claimed he had to use a baseball bat after a scuffle in order to defend himself.
But Prosecutor Marcus Nunez then questioned Neil about hisÂ testimony of the fight,Â and pointed out that there were inconsistenciesÂ with the story.
According to Nunez, the autopsy records showed that the crime did notÂ take place as a result of a chase.Â Rather there was some time betweenÂ the fight and the murder of Melvin Green.Â The victim’s body was relaxed,Â seated in a chair that was later found askew on the floor, and apparentlyÂ had been listening to a baseball game.
Nunez stated that there was a heavy blow to the head, which could onlyÂ have been performed if Neil Green had come from behind, not from aÂ frontal attack that he testified happened.Â Nunez also presented the weaponÂ in question to Green, pointing to the bloodstain locations along theÂ bat.
Neil Green denied these accounts, saying he was too drunk as well as filled withÂ adrenaline from the fight to have noticed where and how many times heÂ hit his father with the bat.
In response to his sister Aprel Remkus’ testimony from Monday, Green stated that her testimony was false. He testified that there was no confrontation and if anything, his sister had blown up on him and tried to get in his face, not vice versa.
The trial continued this week on Monday with closing statements scheduled forÂ Wednesday.