ITHACA, N.Y. –– A crowd gathered outside the Tompkins County Courthouse on Monday, asking for Judge John Rowley to vacate the sentence of Nagee Green, who was convicted for the 2016 murder of Ithaca College student Anthony Nazaire.
Green, a 26-year-old Freeville native, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for both Nazaire’s death and the stabbing of another student.
The sentence came after two trials of Green. He initially went on trial for charges of second-degree murder and assault in June of 2017, and though the jury found him guilty of assault, the jury was deadlocked on the murder charge. However, a second jury at a re-trial in September of 2017 found Green guilty of murder.
In addition to being charged with the death of Nazaire, Green was charged with stabbing student Rahiem Williams, who survived his injuries, in the same incident.
More than 60 people were gathered in front of the courthouse, despite chilly temperatures, to hear speeches from family and community members on behalf of Green.
“The evidence is there, my grandson is innocent,” Green’s grandfather told the crowd.
— The Ithaca Voice (@ithacavoice) January 20, 2020
The group organizing on behalf of Green have dubbed themselves the ‘Free Nagee Green Committee,’ and have set up a website outlining their reasoning in calling for a vacated sentence. The committee believes that there was a biased jury, that police coerced a confession from Green and that the defense failed to present evidence relevant to the trial.
Maureen Lane, Nagee Green’s aunt, described on how the family felt the defense had not done an adequate job defending Green, and that the family had to become their own investigators following the conviction.
“We reviewed pages and pages of evidence, testimony and witness statements and that’s when we noticed things were missing. We asked the defensive counsel why there was so much evidence that wasn’t included in the trial and we got, ‘oh well that evidence wasn’t credible’…This evidence was relevant and they tried to hold it from us,” Lane said.
Some of the evidence that supporters believe was omitted from Green’s trial were a witness at the incident who said the assailant was wearing clothes different from Green’s on the night in question, and part of the police interrogation video, where police officers state they have given Green a ‘truth serum’ which prompted the false confession.
Community figures and organizers also spoke out on behalf of Green.
Fabina Colon, the Director of the Multicultural Resource Center spoke about the greater trend Green’s case illustrates.
“I stand here with all of you to fight against an injustice system that has been created to oppress black and brown people for centuries,” she said.
Phoebe Brown, a community activist who was vocal during the trials of Rose DeGroat and Cadji Ferguson in 2019 said, “it’s hard for me to keep coming and standing on these steps for our young black and brown brothers. This is not right.”
Attorney Edward Kopko and community organizer for Decarcerate Tompkins County, Dr. Barbara Regenspan also shared remarks.
An official 440 motion was filed 6 months ago by attorney Paul Connolly on behalf of Green.
“Right now, we’re just basically putting pressure on the judge,” Green’s mother Tamara said on Monday. “He’s (Nagee) a very quiet person, very smart. But if you get to know him, he’s very sociable…he’s the light of my life.”