Jury delivers guilty verdicts

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A former Marshall County resident was found guilty Monday evening at the end of a two-day jury trial that started Friday.

Trey Lewis Green, 30, of Murfreesboro, was charged in a six-count indictment with manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver (two counts of each) and illegal possession of drug paraphernalia.

A jury of eight women and four men deliberated for almost three hours before returning the verdict of guilty as charged on four of the counts. On the two counts of possession with intent to deliver, they found Green guilty of the lesser-included charge of simple possession.

Green remains free on a $22,000 bond until his sentencing hearing on Aug. 3.

An anonymous letter and photographs of marijuana growing in pots were sent to the Marshall County Sheriff's Department in late February or early March 2009, evidence at the trial revealed. On March 4, agents of the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force visited 1375 Pickle Road, Culleoka, to follow up on the tip. There were three residences on the property, testified Tim Miller, assistant director of the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force. They were a doublewide trailer, a singlewide trailer, and a foundation house. The doublewide appeared unoccupied, so agents looked around the singlewide, and could smell the odor of growing marijuana, Miller said. Trey Green was not there, but his father, Tony Green, was living in the house.

The agents obtained a search warrant and entered the singlewide trailer. They found about 40 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, as well as grow lights, which were on, and a ballast that regulated electricity going to the lights. In a kitchen cabinet they found digital scales, almost an ounce of prepared marijuana, and plastic bags.

"What connected Trey Green with that trailer?" Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard asked Miller.

"Mail on the kitchen table with his name on it, pictures of his wife and children, and men's clothing and shoes consistent in size with Trey Green," Miller replied.

"Was the trailer lived in?" Barnard asked.

"It appeared someone had been staying there as recently as the previous night," Miller testified.

Miller photographed the letter on the table as evidence that the singlewide trailer was Trey Green's residence, but could not produce the letter for examination, even though his testimony Friday afternoon was that he had "seized" it as evidence.

Defense attorney Don Himmelberg of Nashville emphasized that the letter was the only link between Trey Green and the trailer where the marijuana was growing, pointing out that the letter could be several years old, but this could not be determined just by looking at a photograph of the envelope.

"What's the date of the letter?" Himmelberg asked. "He seized it and now it's missing!"

"That's the $64,000 question. What happened to the letter?" Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler said late Friday afternoon.

"I made a mistake," Miller admitted Monday morning, stating he had failed to find the letter in any files at the task force office. "I don't know why I wouldn't have seized it. There's no way I would lie about anything like that."

"Isn't the letter a crucial piece of evidence?" Himmelberg asked.

"Correct - somewhat," answered Miller.

Tony Green, 54, was called as a witness for the prosecution.

"Did you tell Agent Miller you would like to take the blame for whatever was found in the trailer?" Barnard asked, and Tony Green answered, "Yes."

"You were wanting to take the blame for what reason?" Barnard persisted.

"I'll take the 5th (Amendment) on that one for right now," Tony Green replied, repeating this as an answer to the question, "Are you taking the blame to cover up for somebody else?"

Crigler sent the jury out of the courtroom and said, "I should appoint counsel for this witness" to advise him on his rights. Lewisburg-based attorney Jheri Beth Rich was appointed for Tony Green and the jury took an early lunch break while she consulted with her new client.

"Are you still taking the 5th on both questions?" Barnard asked when the trial resumed.

"Yes," Tony Green replied, and Rich stated she believed Tony Green did have the 5th Amendment privilege.

"Could you be using the 5th to get your son out of trouble and keep yourself from being prosecuted?" asked Barnard, near the end of Tony Green's time on the witness stand, which was characterized by inconclusive answers and more taking of the 5th.

"No, I think everybody has a mind of their own," Tony Green replied.

The defense's only witness was Trey Green's estranged wife, who testified that they moved from Pickle Road to Murfreesboro in May 2008, and that when they lived at her father-in-law's property, they lived in the doublewide trailer, not the singlewide where the marijuana was found.

"Search your hearts," Himmelberg said to the jury during his closing argument. "You should find Trey Green not guilty."

Barnard countered. "We have proven this case... Passion, prejudice and sympathy have no place in your deliberations. I know you know Trey Green did it."

The jury left the courtroom at 4:45 p.m. and returned with their verdict about 8 p.m.