BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Crosley Green walked out of the Calhoun Correctional Facility Wednesday night and hugged his son for the first time in nearly 32 years, but while his freedom is within reach he is awaiting an appeals court decision that could again alter the course of his life.
The emotional 63-year-old spoke to reporters Thursday in Brevard County about his first moments outside prison.
“I want to really feel the excitement and the joy of making that first step outside the gate but it was kind of hard to do because I also want to feel that first hug from my son, when he met me at the gate,” Green said taking a moment to embrace his adult son as his eyes filled with tears.
Green, who maintains his innocence, was convicted in the 1989 murder of Charles “Chip” Flynn, 22, and sentenced to die by electric chair. He spent 20 years on death row before he was re-sentenced to life in prison. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Green to be released from prison due to health concerns from the pandemic and because his murder conviction was overturned in July 2018, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
Federal Judge Roy B. Dalton ruled a Brady violation had occurred and reversed Green’s conviction in July 2018. The state appealed and the case was heard before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 12, 2020. Florida State Attorney Ashley Moody and state prosecutors continue to fight to maintain the conviction and argued against his release.
Attorneys with Crowell & Moring have been working to clear Green’s name for 13 years.
“Since the first day I met him on death row. He knew he was innocent. And he always had faith, and that faith, you know, drove all of us, and all of his supporters to believe that someday this day would come,” Green’s attorney Keith Harrison said.
His attorneys maintain the prosecution withheld critical evidence and if the jury had been presented all of the facts they would not have convicted Green.
“That evidence that the federal court based its ruling on was notes of interviews with the first police officers that arrived on the crime scene,” Harrison said. “Based on their observations and their conclusions and their experience they believe that someone else committed the crime that Crosley Green was eventually convicted, but the jury never heard from those officers. The jury never heard that evidence.”
Green stood under an oak tree for the first time in more than 30 years Thursday as he spoke about his journey ahead. He said his faith has carried him all these years.
“I look for him to do what he’s going to do,” Green said. “(God), he’s got me covered.”
WATCH LIVE: Officials discuss Crosley Green’s release after nearly 32 years in prison
WATCH LIVE: Officials discuss Crosley Green’s release after nearly 32 years in prison. https://bit.ly/3mvkvEuPosted by News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando on Thursday, April 8, 2021
Green will remain under home-bound conditional release with his family in Titusville as he awaits the decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. He said he feels no anger for the decades he has lost. He recently told his son to let go of the anger because “anger destroys a lot of people. I’m not going to let it destroy me.”
“This is not the finish line for us, unfortunately. We are currently awaiting a decision from the 11th Circuit,” one of Green’s attorneys, Jeanne Thomas, said, adding it’s unclear when the court will make its decision.
“I firmly believe that the 11th Circuit panel should uphold the district court’s decision and find that the state improperly withheld exculpatory evidence, evidence that the district court found went to the very key at the very heart of the defense case. And if the jury would have heard that evidence, the district court held, they would have found differently in their verdict,” Thomas said.
Thomas explained there are two outcomes if the court should not rule in Green’s favor: The state could choose not to further pursue the conviction and “end this nightmare and allow this innocent man to live the rest of his life freely, as he should.”
Or the state could retry the case more than 30 years later and if it does Thomas said Green’s defense team will be ready.
“I can assure you that if they do choose to retry the case, we will do everything we can to make sure that this time, the trial is a fair trial and the jury will hear all of the evidence,” Thomas said.