A jury is currently deliberating over the murder charge facing Nagee Green, the man accused of killing Ithaca College student Anthony Nazaire Aug. 28, 2016.
Nazaire was stabbed and killed after leaving a party at Cornell University, and junior Rahiem Williams was also stabbed and injured during the altercation. Green was convicted in June for second-degree assault, but the jury deadlocked on the second-degree murder charge.
Green’s lawyer, Joseph Joch, previously told The Ithacan that he thought the jury deadlocked on the murder charge due to a lack of evidence, which is the same theory he is supporting in the retrial that began Sept. 20. The prosecution, headed by District Attorney Matthew Van Houten, asked the jury at the retrial to use their common sense because the video evidence points to Green as the killer.
Witnesses of the crime all gave details of what they saw the night Nazaire was killed. Of all seven witnesses, none testified they explicitly saw Green stab Nazaire.
The prosecution reviewed video evidence with the jurors in its closing arguments, encouraging the jury to connect the dots through the events shown that they allege lead back to Green being the killer. In the first video showing the beginning of the fight in the intersection of College Ave. and Campus Rd., Green allegedly yells, “I kill out here,” while swiping the knife at another student at the scene, something that Van Houten said shows his intent to kill. In another video shown, Nazaire and Williams are in a dark corner at the intersection where Nazaire was stabbed. In the video, the prosecution points out Green running toward them, but it is unclear whether he engaged with them because the video ends.
“That means something so much more serious when that person has a knife,” he said, referring to Green’s statement in the video.
Eliza Filipowski, assistant district attorney, pointed to areas in the videos taken of the altercation where Green was shown. In one video, he was circling a group of people fighting on the ground. This, she said, insinuates that he was looking for a way to get into the fight.
During closing arguments, the defense stressed the detail that none of the witnesses said they saw Green stab Nazaire. Joch said he wants someone to be charged with the death of Nazaire but that he thinks Green does not fit into the theory the prosecution is pushing.
“Somebody has to pay; this is a murder,” Joch said.
He said that the videos the prosecution is pushing lead to the assumption that Green is the killer. No video shown in the court shows Green clearly attacking Nazaire and the other student who was injured. He also said the alleged confession the police received from Green was coerced. According to court documents, Green consistently denied stabbing Nazaire in the video of his confession when being interrogated by New York State Police officers. Later in the video, he said it could have been accidental if Nazaire fell on the knife; Green then confessed to stabbing Nazaire.
Throughout the retrial, experts and witnesses to the killing were brought to the stand to testify.
Carrie McGinnis, a forensic scientist and DNA analyst with the New York State Police Crime Laboratory, testified that neither handle of the two knives contained a major contributor of DNA, meaning no one strand of a person’s DNA was present more than others.
The jury began deliberating at about 1:30 p.m. Sept. 27. At 4:15 p.m., they announced that they needed more time to review specific testimony and evidence before making a decision. The deliberation will continue Sept. 28.