TX: Judge denies execution stay for Jonathan Green
Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:42
Judge denies execution stay for Jonathan Green
By Nancy Flake Updated: 06.28.10 A Montgomery man scheduled to die Wednesday for the June 21, 2000, murder of a 12-year-old Dobbin girl is mentally competent for execution, a Montgomery County judge ruled Monday.
Unless the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals or a federal court rules for a stay of execution, Jonathan Marcus Green, 42, will be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Wednesday for the kidnapping, rape and strangulation murder of Christina LeAnn Neal.
While Green’s appellate attorney, James Rytting, of Houston, argued that Green is incompetent to be executed because he is delusional, 221st state District Court Judge Lisa Michalk found that there is compelling evidence showing otherwise.
“The letters by you are compelling, because ... they show knowledge,” Michalk said. “It was compelling you knew the name of the victim. The most compelling evidence of all is that you know you’re going to be executed, that you know the date of your execution; you knew the names of all your appellate attorneys.
“I find that Mr. Green is not incompetent and will not stay the execution.”
The state Court of Criminal Appeals “won’t be opposed” to a stay of execution, Rytting said.
“We believe the Court of Criminal Appeals will be opposed to a stay,” said Assistant District Attorney Marc Brumberger, an appellate specialist for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
Brumberger said he doesn’t believe there will be a stay of execution at either the state or federal level based on the merits of the case.
However, “I do think if the courts can’t review it in time (before the scheduled execution), they may have to stay to review it,” he said.
Green is the first of two Montgomery County men scheduled to die by lethal injection this week for their murder convictions. The execution of Michael James “Romeo” Perry, 28, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday. Perry was convicted in February 2003 for the October 2001 shooting death of Sandra Stotler, 50, a Conroe Regional Medical Center nurse.
Perry’s attorneys have filed an appeal claiming that he could not have killed Stotler because he was in jail at the time she was murdered, and questioning the testimony of Dr. Paul Shrade, the former Harris County medical examiner who testified in Perry’s trial.
Shrade, who was serving as medical examiner for El Paso County, was fired by county commissioners there in May for lying on his resume.
Green had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, Rytting argued, and could make no rational connection about why he will be executed.
“The crux is whether he had a rational understanding of what he did,” Rytting said. “Mr. Green knows what the death penalty is. But he insists he is innocent based on the belief that he was in Conroe, Texas, at the time of the murder ... and based on the belief that there is a system of beings within him, some of whom want him dead.
“That is his concept of reality.”
But Green made several claims that showed he fully understood his situation, including complaints about the racial composition of the jury, Brumberger said.
“He seems to understand what is going on here,” Brumberger said. “He understands what he did. He understands why he is to be executed.”
“No, I don’t understand,” Green said.
Wiping away tears after Michalk’s ruling, Laura Neal, Christina’s mother, said she was “relieved.”
Christina’s family and friends memorialized the 10-year anniversary of her death June 21 at her gravesite.
“Right now, I’m trying to stay optimistic,” Laura Neal said about Green’s further appeals.
“I’m hoping Wednesday we’ll be in Huntsville, and that’ll be the end of it.”
Nancy Flake can be reached at nflake@hcnonline. com.
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