EL CENTRO — The Imperial County murder trial of People vs. Neil Evan Green resumed last week with the defense team of the murder suspect 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 occurred at the home the father and son shared on Moiola Avenue in El Centro. Because of the lack of witnesses, the trial is expected to be short.
Prosecutors claim Green attacked and killed his father for unknown reasons, while the defense claims Green acted in self-defense after his father began physically attacking the son at their home.
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 team was using to show the suspect acted in self defense.
Aprel Remkus, daughter of victim Melvin Green and sister of the defendant, was the first to take the stand to give her testimony. Remkus recounted a previous meeting on Father’s Day with both her brother and father that resulted 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-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.
Green’s Defense Attorney, Jill Cremeans, also asked all the witnesses about Melvin’snattitude 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.
Last week, the defense called up various witnesses, starting with Michael Rodriguez, a co-worker from the Immigration detention center. Rodriguez testified that he was called when Melvin Green did not respond to a call about an inmate. “They said Mr. Green would never respond in time, he responded two hours later,” Rodriguez said.
However, Rodriguez stated this only happened once and that he had a lot of respect for Green.Other defense witnesses included Kenneth Zinn, a resident on the street where Melvin and 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 interacted 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, took 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 constantly 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 his testimony of the fight, and pointed out that there were inconsistencies with the story.
According to Nunez, the autopsy records showed that the crime did not take place as a result of a chase. Rather there was some time between the fight and the murder of Melvin Green. The victim’s body was relaxed, seated in a chair that was later found askew on the floor, and apparently had been listening to a baseball game.
Nunez stated that there was a heavy blow to the head, which could only have been performed if Neil Green had come from behind, not from a frontal attack that he testified happened. Nunez also presented the weapon in question to Green, pointing to the bloodstain locations along the bat.
Neil Green denied these accounts, saying he was too drunk as well as filled with adrenaline from the fight to have noticed where and how many times he 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 for Wednesday.