Steven D. Green

Steven D. Green
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Turbulent but Spirited Childhood

Day 12
A plethora of witnesses testified today, with more doctors and officials, and some of Steven Green’s high school friends.

Testimony began with a combat veteran and military law professor Gary Solis. Defense attorney Darren Wolff took Solis through his background information. Solis fought in Vietnam and went on to London School of Law before holding teaching "The Art of Armed Conflict" at West Point and now at Georgetown Law. He also served as a prosecutor in 400 military cases and as a military military judge for 330 cases. Wolff questioned him on the importance and purpose of military training: “It imbues one with obedience to authority, it trains an individual to respect and respond, and it makes that response instinctive.” He spoke about the erosion of morale that can be caused by combat, and the test of leadership. "Perceptions become blunted, over time."

When asked if judgment can also be degraded as well, Solis listed off the stresses of combat(being fired at near-constantly, less than four(4) hours of sleep), “it was bad in the best of conditions…it’s not long before judgment will degrade and soldiers will become…callused [to the stresses]." Marisa Ford(P) crossed-examined Solis on his thoughts about his service in the Marines versus the Army, as well as if the “fog of war” would obligate a soldier to commit a murder/gang rape. Solis vehemently denied this, stating that the soldier would “be obligated to not comply with an unlawful order.”

The next “batter” to step up to the “plate” was Andrew Horne. Once again, Wolff had his witness take the jury through their background info. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Marine Corp for 26 years, having finished up in Iraq. He also made the court aware that he had reviewed multiple documents regarding this case, and also interviewed co-defendant James Barker and Eric Lauzier. Darren Wolff questioned him on Green’s assisting with the medical evacuation of Britt and Lopez. Horne stated that there had been a discussion between officials to formally recognize and award Green for his heroism, but admitted that through his study of related investigation documents, he determined that Green was never actually acknowledged for his heroism. He also testified that of all his experience in the military, 1st Platoon had "by far" the most extraordinary casualties, in the shortest amount of time, as well as being exposed to more threats than any other platoon he’d ever seen. He brought up the lack of hot food for the soldiers, and their lengthy 21 day rotation, and the lack of protection equipment, “I’ve never seen that kind of disregard for a platoon.”

Darren Wolff finished with asking Horne what his personal thoughts were on doing three man IED sweeps in the morning(something the four defendants in this case were required to do)… he termed it as a “suicide mission.” He would later add that whenever he would leave his garrison(while serving in Iraq) he would be traveling in no less than six armored vehicle(humvee) caravan, contrasting the pity in comparing his enforced travel strategy with the former soldier’s IED sweeps.

For the cross, Marisa Ford forced Horne to admit that he only interviewed Barker and Lauzier. She also questioned him on the conduct and it’s inconsistencies with the MOS(mission operation specialty AKA mission). She showed Horne the “15-6” investigation report which Horne had reviewed prior to his testimony. In a “15-6” , an objective and unrelated investigator documents his/her legal investigation about higher-scale events involving the Army and it's soldiers, and it in part looks at leadership. Ford pointed out that “no one” that the investigator interviewed said that they had any issue with the leadership. But when Darren Wolff came back for re-direct, he noted that Captain Goodwin requested support three times and that Colonel Kunk said that Goodwin wasn’t properly using the resources he’d already been given. As a result, the investigator recommended the removal of Captain Goodwin.

The defense brought Jim Isclaw to the stand. At entry, Isclaw winked at Green when their eyes met. Isclaw, a native of Alvarado, TX, is an assistant football coach, golf coach, and teacher at Alvarado High School, and has been there for 23 years. To be quite frank, he’s a good ol’ country boy, and he’s got the persona of one as well. In his face, you can see the hours/days/years spent in the hot(understatement) Texan sun, calling plays and yelling at players. The attorney got straight to the point by beginning with “Do you remember Steven Green?” Isclaw immediately fired back with “I’ll never fergetim…there’s some kids you just don’t forget.” He spoke of meeting Steven in the summer of his freshman year for the football team’s two-a-day workouts during the summer. He spoke of Green living with his uncle, David. He highlighted on his memory of green: his far and few between class/school absences, “he had very good attendance…in fact I did some research and he only had four absences that entire year,” and about his personality as he remembered it, “he was a very likable guy, very enjoyable, he was easy to spot and when you did see him you could count on him to put a smile on your face.” He told of Green being a typical “knucklehead” and getting into small trouble. Defendant Green couldn’t help but to laugh. He spoke of Green’s unfaltering attendance at the varsity games, “he never missed a game.” He told of Green’s undying sense of humor, “he was a funny guy, he’d do this one leg chicken dance at all the pep rallies.” This humor/dance would become a recurring theme throughout the rest of the days’ testimony. He gave the courtroom a laugh when he spoke of Green’s “lack of” athletic ability in playing wide receiver. The jury and audience was shown a picture from the yearbook of Green on the football field, “looking for an opening” against Arlington Heights, to which Isclaw commented, “If he had the ball against Arlington Heights…. We were either way ahead or way behind,” bringing a few chuckles. Wolff began a difficult line of questioning in the witnesses by asking Isclaw “If Green were to be executed, what impact would that have on you?” Isclaw visibly thought about his answer, and you could almost see his stomach churning as he responded, “It’d….it would break my heart…(pausing)…he’s one of my own. 185 days of school to get to know him, I know that don’t seem like much but he was always one that I liked and remembered…I’d be saddened…(pause)…I believe it’d crush me.” No cross from the prosecution.

The next witness was Chase Bentley, a 24 year old from Lovett, Texas. He just completed his Masters Degree in Civil Engineering last week, and is already engaged with a wedding on December 14th, he told the court. He spoke of meeting Green during his junior year of high school, when Green was only a freshman(Green only attended Alvarado for his freshman year). As a requirement, football players must run track in the spring, which was where Green and Bentley met. When asked what his impression of Green was, he quickly spoke of having “only great memories. He was just one of the fellas” He spoke of Green being “the class clown….this guy was funny.” When asked about his track running ability, Bentley grinned profusely for a few seconds before eluding to his opinion that “well…he was fun to watch, let’s just put it that way.” Once again, his testimony ended with what his thoughts would be if Green were to be executed, “I couldn’t imagine…(long, thoughtful pause)…he lost his father and….I can’t imagine that with a set predetermined date and…” His testimony ended there, again with no cross examination.

The next witness to be called to the stand was Cody Ray. Like Isclaw, he too, could be considered a good ol' country boy, with the blue plaid button down and blue jeans with cowboy boots to prove it. He spoke of being a manager at an oil reserve in Midland, Texas. He first told a story of Green getting headbutted in the nose before practice one day, and how Green never “gave up” who it was who’d given him a bloody nose and t-shirt, and how he proceeded to wear his bloody t shirt throughout the day.

He, like others, spoke of Green’s “very good” sense of humor. He told a story to the amount of, “you know when you tell a joke that’s a knee slapper to you, it’s just hilarious for you but no one else seems to get it? Well Steve would always laugh, no matter what, no matter how stupid the joke.” He told more stories of Green “perfecting” the chicken dance during his year at Alvarado and smashing “case upon case” of soda can on his head, “he was an entertainer lemme tell ya.” He spoke of having the same attitude as Green, “we were knuckleheads, we got into trouble that 14 and 15 year olds get into.” He also talked about Green living with him and his family off and on throughout the year. “I tell you what, that boy can eat like it ain’t no body's bidness. My family can eat, my mother cooks us big meals because of that, but you know he can put my dad to shame.” Wolff then proceeded to ask if he still considered Green a friend, and he responded, “Absolutely. He is welcome at my house any time.”

The next witness was Joni Ray. As you probably already figured out(c'mon, put it together) she is the mother of the aforementioned witness, Cody. She was tearful throughout her testimony. She talked about taking Steve home from football practice and going out to eat after the games. She said he “was very respectful, and extremely mannerly…said ‘yes ma’am and ‘no ma’am’ all the time, always picked up after ‘imself took out the trash.” She told the court that Green was always thankful for her cooking, “oh yes he loved my cookin’.” When asked what her relationship was, tears welling up in her eyes, she painstakingly stated that “he’s like one of my children… I remember the sweetest…him walking in and asking ‘what’s for dinner?!’… I can see him outside playing and riding bikes to this day.” Defendant Green succeeded in trying to keep a straight face during this but, more importantly, you could tell he had to try.

Next up to bat was Daniel Carr. Carr grew up in Midland, TX, and is still there working as an instrument technician. He spoke of meeting Steve in the fall of 1992 after he met Green’s mother, Roxanne. They married in July of 1993. He spoke of working extra hours in the following years, and with Roxanne working nights, they weren’t home a lot for their three kids. “Roxy was always…she had a lot of friends and she was always out with them or out shopping, and she preferred the night job because of the money.” He remembered fighting with Roxanne about the money situation and her night jobs, adding that “[he] regret[s] doing that in front of the kids,” as well as being verbally abusive. Defendant Green looked down.

He talked about becoming more and more at odds with Roxanne and how he began to feel that Steve and himself were the “outsiders” of the family. “He felt left out of the affection of his mother,” when her affection for brothers Doug and Danny was brought up. “Her patience with him was a lot shorter,” he testified. He also spoke of Doug’s nickname for Steve, “Demon Spawn,” and also of more than one incident where Doug’s friends held Steve down while Doug allegedly “gave Steve a beating.” According to Carr, Green always did “okay” in school. He told the jury that he separated with Roxanne in 2001, and that shortly afterward Green had a falling out with her as well. Green then wanted to join the Army, which Carr assisted Green in doing so. The first time these particular facts have come to light, Green had to attend a Zion Christian Academy and achieve a “simplified” high school diploma to get his misdemeanor alcohol possession charges waived so that he could join the Army. When asked the same question attorneys had asked of others, he responded, “I’ll always stay in touch with him. In my heart, he’s my son and he always will be.”

The final witness for the day was Allma Ruth Thomas. She spoke of Green being friends with her son, skateboarding and playing video games. “He was like a son of my own.” She talked about having an open house to all kids, laughing as she said “we were all buddies.” On Green’s personality at that time, she told the jury that “He’s a very…outgoing kid.” On Green’s sense of humor, like others, she agreed. “Oh yes, he was the clown of them all.” She told a story of selling Green his first car, a 1981 Oldsmobile, and of Green, in typical high school fashion(I myself can testify to this), calling it “his pimp mobile.” Like others she stated that she felt like a mother figure to Green. “I treated him like my own as I did every other kid.” She would later testify that “He was a good kid, always looking for some way to help. He had the dreams of a kid, he wanted to be president.”

When Darren Wolff replied by mentioning the beyond-serious crimes that Green has been charged with and Green’s ineligibility to become President at present, she, like the previous mom, became tearful. “It’s somethin’ I’d never dreamed of… I still love ‘im with all my heart.” Wolff asked her what this felt like to her. She broke down crying, as if already mourning Green’s impending imprisonment, “Well…,” looking directly at the jury, “what do your kids mean to you? You’ll always love them, and you always forgive them no matter what, and try to help them, and hope that things get better for ‘em.” This elicited some small reaction from nearly everyone in the courtroom. Wolff repeated something he had done with all the other witnesses, asking if “[they] would like to stay in contact with Steven Green, even while in prison?” All had furiously agreed, if not begged. Allma Thomas finished her testimony by crying a little more as she told a story of Green asking her if she minded the collect calls and having to pay for them, to which she tearfully replied that “no I don’t mind, I’ll never mind no matter if he just wants to say hi or hear someone’s voice that he can trust or anything…(long pause before mustering the energy to end with)...I feel like I’m in a nightmare and that this child is in a nightmare and that no one can escape it, not even God.” Green, appearing speechless in his maroon sweater vest, looked down.

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