Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Impending Execution of Daniel Greene

Daniel Greene sits on death row awaiting execution by the people of Georgia. The execution is scheduled for 19 April. I relate the facts of the case as presented in the adverse appellate decision Green v. State, 1996.
On the evening of September 27, 1991, Greene made a series of trips to the Suwanee Swifty, a convenience store and gasoline station in Reynolds, Taylor County, Georgia. During his final visit, Greene grabbed the store clerk, Virginia Wise, held a knife to her throat, and told her to give him the money from the cash register. After obtaining the money, $142.55, Greene continued to hold the knife to Wise's throat. He pulled her to the back room, then cut her across three fingers and stabbed her through the lung and liver. Upon hearing the automatic doorbell ring as Bernard Walker entered the store, Greene placed Wise against the bathroom wall, telling her that if she left the room he would have to kill her. Greene reentered the public area of the store and encountered Walker waiting at the counter to make a purchase. He stabbed Walker in the heart, threw down the knife, left the store and drove away. After attempting to get help, Walker fell dead in the parking lot. 
Later that evening, Greene went to the home of Willie and Donice Montgomery, an elderly couple in rural Macon County for whom Greene had worked as a farm laborer for about two months. Greene burst through the Montgomerys' kitchen door wielding a knife and asked for their car keys. Mr. Montgomery gave Greene the keys, and Greene proceeded to stab each victim multiple times in the head.
After leaving the Montgomerys' home, Greene drove their car to a convenience store in Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia. Once there, he held a butcher knife to the cashier, Bonnie Roberts, and forced her to give him the money from the cash register. He then walked toward her and attempted to stab her in the chest. She bent down, and Greene drove the knife into the back of her shoulder. Greene then drove the Montgomerys' car to the home of an acquaintance in Warner Robins, where he was apprehended. 
Greene was tried separately and convicted of the Macon and Houston County crimes. The trial from which this appeal is taken concerned only Greene's indictment for the crimes committed in Taylor County. 
Before trial, Greene confessed to the crimes, explaining in a videotaped interview that he had committed them to obtain money for crack cocaine. At trial, Greene testified that he could not remember committing the crimes or confessing, and that he could only recall experiencing a severe headache inside the Suwanee Swifty after having smoked a cigarette given to him earlier by an acquaintance. He theorized that his criminal behavior might have been induced by the cigarette, which must have been laced with a powerful, mind-altering drug.
I oppose those executions in which the person to be executed may be factually innocent of the crime. In all other cases, I stand mute. In the case of Daniel Greene of Georgia, I stand mute.