TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Crosley Green, who spent nearly 32 years in prison before being released last year after his murder conviction was overturned, spoke Wednesday alongside his brother, sister and legal team about his efforts to remain free.
Nearly four years after a federal judge reversed Green’s 1990 murder conviction, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed the lower court’s decision, meaning Green may have to return to prison.
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Crosley Green spoke at a well-known Baptist church in Titusville to share his story. He said he wants to continue spending time with his grandkids, his family and remain a free man after spending half of his life in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit.
“I look forward to staying home, staying free and putting this behind me,” Green said. “I pray the judge will keep me free and take a look at this once again.”
Green and his legal team outlined reasons to keep him free as they ask the full 11-judge panel of the appeals court to reconsider their recent decision. Green said tearfully during the news conference, “A wrong has been done to me.”
“The one good thing I can tell you about my feelings is that there’s no hatred. Since I’ve been home, I found a lot of love,” he said.
Green was convicted in the April 1989 shooting death of 22-year-old Charles “Chip” Flynn, who was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in a citrus grove. Kim Hallock, who dated Flynn, said they were accosted by a man as they were parked in a secluded area of a park, robbed and driven to the citrus grove where she fled, according to court documents.
A jury convicted Green of first-degree murder in 1990 and he was sentenced to death, though he was resentenced to life in prison in 2009.
Green’s family spoke out in support of his freedom.
“We all love him, and we all really care about him,” said O’Connor Green, Green’s brother.
Shirley White, Green’s older sister, compared having her brother back home to the joy of having a baby.
“When you get that baby out, you feel joy. You forget about the pain. And by my brother being home, that’s the joy that the family has from my brother being home,” she said. “... He brings us more together than further apart and just being out there with him on holidays, it’s just like him being my little brother all over again. He brings me joy.”
One of the two responding officers who first arrived on scene of the shooting also spoke at Wednesday’s news conference. She said after his arrest, she thought, “Things didn’t add up for me.”
“In this particular case with Crosley Green, the truth was hidden,” Diane Clark said. “To me, that’s a travesty of justice. He spent half his life in prison for something that I don’t believe he did.”
In the 2018 decision, U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton Jr. granted what is known as a “writ of habeas corpus” that could lead to Green receiving a new trial or being freed. Dalton ruled that prosecutors had improperly withheld evidence about police officers suspecting that Hallock shot Flynn, according to court documents.
The Florida attorney general’s office appealed Dalton’s ruling in March 2022. In a voluminous 159-page main opinion, the appeals court said Dalton had improperly ruled because the issues about withheld evidence had not been “exhausted” during appeals in state courts.
“The power of the federal courts to grant a writ of habeas corpus setting aside a state prisoner’s conviction on a claim that his conviction was obtained in violation of the United States Constitution is strictly circumscribed,” said the main opinion, written by Judge Gerald Tjoflat and joined by Judge William Traxler Jr. “First, the prisoner must have exhausted his state remedies. He presented the claim to the state courts, and they denied it on the merits.”
Judge Adalberto Jordan disagreed with the main opinion’s conclusion that Green had not exhausted the issues in state courts. But Jordan nevertheless wrote he did not think Green was entitled to relief on the issue of withheld evidence, which involved a prosecutor’s notes about the suspicions of the police officers.
In his 2018 ruling, however, Dalton found the withheld evidence significant.
“It is difficult to conceive of information more material to the defense and the development of defense strategy than the fact that the initial responding officers evaluated the totality of the evidence as suggesting that the investigation should be directed toward someone other than petitioner (Green),” Dalton wrote. “Thus, the withheld evidence was clearly material and the failure to disclose it was a … violation which undermines confidence in the outcome of the trial.”
Green said he’s not giving up. “The good Lord brought me this far and he’s going to continue to carry me.”
Green’s legal team said they anticipate the panel’s decision no earlier than May 20, if they decide to grant the petition.