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Florida Sends Blatantly Innocent Man Back To Prison
Crosley Green has served over 30 years for a crime he very definitely did not commit.
"I really didn't get a really good look at him. I was really scared," then-19-year-old Kim Hallock told detectives investigating the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Charles Lambert "Chip" Flynn. She did remember that he was a Black man with long hair in "a Jheri curl," but that was about it.
Hallock may have never gotten a good look at him, but for more than 30 years she has insisted that Crosley Green, who had a buzz cut at the time, was definitely the man who kidnapped her and Flynn, robbed them, and then killed Flynn. Green, who had an alibi for the night of the crime, was convicted by an all-white jury of Flynn's murder on the sparsest of coincidental evidence — a dog smelling the "scent" of footprints and a cross-racial identification from Hallock, the only witness to the crime. There were no fingerprints or any other evidence tying him to the scene. While a gun belonging to Flynn was found, the gun supposedly used to shoot him never was.
It seems almost impossible that Green would be convicted today, when we know that these types of evidence are barely "evidence" at all. That it's not possible to tell if police dogs are picking up actual scents or cues from their handlers, when we know that cross-racial identification is highly likely to be inaccurate. In his case, the actual evidence that he is innocent is overwhelming — even the cops who first responded to the scene have been going on "48 Hours" for years saying they don't believe he is guilty.
Two years ago, three years after his conviction was overturned by a federal court in Orlando, Green was released and allowed to go home on house arrest instead — but the state of Florida appealed the decision and won. Green was allowed to remain free(ish) while his legal team exhausted his legal options. Alas, after the United States Supreme Court declined to hear his case back in February, it was determined that he would have to go back to prison to continue serving time for a crime he very obviously did not commit.
Yesterday was his last day of freedom.
Kim Hallock's story was that, back in 1989, in Titusville, Florida, she and Flynn had met up at her house and then drove out to a park where they had sex and smoked marijuana. At some point, she told Flynn she saw "a Black man" outside of his window, which he then immediately rolled up. Twenty minutes later, she claims, Flynn got out of the truck for some reason and saw "the Black man," at which point Hallock took a gun out of the glove box and placed it near her. "The Black man" then either made her tie Flynn's hands behind his back or tied his hands behind his back himself. One of the two! He then forced Hallock to give him the money in Flynn's wallet and got in the car — a manual transmission with a custom gear shift that made it difficult for someone unfamiliar with the car to drive — and drove, managing the gears, while continuing to hold a gun on them both. He drove for an hour, up to an orange grove, at which point he made Hallock get out of the car and called her a "slut."
During this time, with his hands still tied, Flynn got the gun from the car and fired five or six shots at the man. Hallock fled the scene and drove three miles, past several pay phones and a hospital, to a friend's house and then waited about an hour before calling the police to report the crime and tell them where Flynn was — giving them the wrong directions to the orange grove. A car was dispatched to where Hallock was so she could direct them to this orange grove, although when they got there she refused to get out of the car. Flynn, shot in the chest and with his arms still tied behind his back, was alive at this point, telling the cops that he wanted to go home.
He did not survive.
The whole case only gets more absurd from there. Homicide detectives, who never considered Hallock a suspect despite inconsistencies in her story, claim they immediately got a tip that a man named Crosley Green, who had recently been released from jail, was involved. Then, they say, a dog tracked footprints from the truck to the house of one of Green's sisters, though the footprints were never matched to any shoe owned by Green. Those footprints, by the way, do not actually even lead to the truck, according to the actual crime scene video provided by police at trial.
Via 48 Hours:
As for those shoeprints at the park, criminalist Lisa DiMeo, who helped Crosley's defense team, told "48 Hours" that diagram shown at trial contradicts the actual crime scene video.
CRIME SCENE VIDEO: These shoeprints after proceeding west will then continue on around just to the outside of this fence ...
If these were the tracks of the assailant, they should end where the truck was parked. But, in fact, DiMeo says they continue past the truck, along the fence, and appear to leave the park.
Erin Moriarty: How can they belong to the assailant if in fact he got in the truck back here? They couldn't.
Lisa DiMeo: No, no they couldn't.
Erin Moriarty: This diagram supports Kim Hallock's story. But this diagram doesn't match the evidence at the scene?
Lisa DiMeo: Correct. … This was necessary to make her story fit.
Kim Hallock was then shown a line-up that would no longer be admissible even in a Florida court, in which Green's picture was smaller and noticeably darker than the others, and she was told the suspect was definitely in the line-up.
Green had an alibi and was in fact at a party that evening, but apparently no one believed him or anyone who was at the party when they said he was there. Cops found several people to testify that he had "confessed" to having killing Flynn to them, all of whom have since recanted. One of those people was Green's sister, who said she was told that if she didn't say what they wanted her to say, she'd never see her kids again.
That was literally all of the evidence that sent Green to prison, where he remained for the last several decades until finally being released to house arrest after it came out that the cops who were initially on the scene took notes saying they believed Hallock actually killed Flynn and simply said a random Black man did it to avoid getting in trouble — and that Christopher White, the prosecutor in the case, had not given this evidence to Green's defense.
Prosecutor White, however, is adamant that Hallock could not possibly have lied, because they come from the same community and she lived in the same area as him.
Via 48 Hours:
Christopher White: You've gotta understand. It's kind of a small community here in Titusville. Kim Hallock lived … at the, in the area where I lived.
Christopher White: I don't see how there's anything here concrete to tell anybody that Kim Hallock lied.
Erin Moriarty (narrating): But there were those obvious red flags with her story. There was no moon on the night Chip Flynn was shot; it was completely dark in that orange grove.
Keith Harrison: Based on her testimony, she said she didn't get a really good look at him.
Erin Moriarty (narrating): Yet Kim Hallock chose Green out of a photo lineup — a flawed lineup. Professor Nunn says that is no longer allowed under Florida's current laws.
Kenneth Nunn: You can't tell the witness that the suspect is in the batch … and that happened in this case … you have to make sure that the photograph matches all the other photographs … his head is smaller than the other ones … so he stands out.
Erin Moriarty: Would you do this today?
Christopher White: Well, no, no. Ideally, I would not.
Erin Moriarty: Could she have picked the wrong person?
Christopher White: I don't think she did, you know? … Was she guessing more than she was sure? I couldn't tell you for sure.
Christopher White: That still leaves you with the issue of whether or not it's Crosley. And you have arguments pro and con about that. But the one thing I'm sure of, based on the evidence in this case, it wasn't Kim Hallock.
Oh, well that certainly seems like a good reason to keep this obviously innocent man in prison for the rest of his life. Hallock, for the record, was never even looked at as a suspect, was never tested for gunshot residue (which, by the way, was also not present on Chip Flynn, even though he supposedly fired four or five shots at Green with his hands tied behind his back), or photographed.
There are now eight people willing to come forward and testify that Green was at that party that night. The former "witnesses" in the case who say he confessed are willing to testify that they were pressured by cops to say they heard things they didn't. There are piles of studies available showing that the "evidence" used to convict him was faulty. And, again, even the cops who first responded to the scene do not believe he did it. The cops! How often does that happen?
It's currently not clear if Green will get his new trial, but it is very clear that the state of Florida does not want to give it to him. As apparent as it is that he did not commit this crime and that there is nowhere near enough evidence to say that he did, they want him behind bars until he dies. He went to prison when he was 31 and is now 65. He lost three decades of his life for the stupidest of possible reasons and is now set to lose more, all because people can't admit when they were wrong. Or because Kim Hallock happened to live in the same neighborhood as the prosecutor in the case.
Florida should be ashamed. We should all be ashamed. If we can't get someone as obviously innocent as Crosley Green out of prison, then what does that say about the legitimacy of our whole justice system and the concept of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt"? Not anything good.
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