ITHACA, N.Y. — The prosecutor in the Cornell homicide case of Anthony Nazaire fired back at defense lawyers’ claims calling them “a hyperbolic untruth” in court documents filed Monday.
Nagee Green, 23, is charged and has been indicted for felony second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.
Police said that during a street brawl at Cornell University on Aug. 28, Green stabbed Rahiem Williams three times in his back and fatally stabbed Nazaire once in the chest. Then, Green is alleged to have admitted to the crimes while being interrogated by police on Nov. 7.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Nov. 21. He’s currently still in custody on $100,000 bail. attorneys Joseph
Green’s attorneys Joseph Joch and Michael Perehinec filed court documents on Friday laying out legal issues they say are flawed or may be flawed in the case.
Among their concerns were questions about whether the grand jury was properly handled by the prosecution, the legality of Green’s arrest and detention by police, and claims that Green’s statements to police should be tossed off the record because police allegedly lied to him to coerce a confession of an intentional murder.
But records filed by Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia disputed those claims.
Bonavia said in court documents, “Defendant’s claims that his confession came after ‘more than three hours of outright lies, exaggerations, and false statements and persistent pseudo-logical argumentations’ is a hyperbolic untruth.”
He cited the fact that in 73-pages worth of transcription from Green’s interview with police, the defense does not specifically cite where police supposedly lie to him.
Bonavia said that Green may have “…his own mischaracterized opinion of the statements made by the police investigators,” but the prosecution and investigators were under no obligation to correct Green’s assumptions about what the videos of the crime police obtained actually depicted. Bonavia says there is, in fact, video evidence of Green swinging a knife at a person, and that there is another video of Green running toward the victims with the knife in his hand.
During the interview, Green seemed to think police were implying that they had a video of him stabbing Nazaire or Williams, though police do not explicitly state that in the transcript, which is not a complete transcript of the entire interview.
All evidence is not available to the public before the trial, and The Ithaca Voice has not seen any of the videos referenced.
The document states that the prosecution agreed to a hearing to clear up the matter.
“[T]he People reiterate that the defendant’s statements were made voluntarily and in compliance with all constitutional restrictions,” the document says.
Bonavia also argued that defense attorney claims that Green may have been illegally detained or questioned are not true.
He said defense attorney claims that the lack of Green’s DNA on the knife collected at the scene and lack of video evidence are not enough to indicate that there was no probable cause for Green’s arrest.
“Further, in making his analysis of probable cause, defendant ignores the voluminous amounts of evidence disclosed in this case. This evidence includes, among other things, videos (which depict defendant menacingly swinging a knife at a person, then running towards the victims), corroborated by statements from witnesses who identify the defendant’s actions before, during and after the crime. The defendant’s motion for probable cause hearing should be denied,” the court documents state.
Bonavia also states in the documents that the prosecution handled all aspects of the grand jury properly and that grand jury minutes should be denied to the defense because they have not made a “compelling and particularized need for access” other than statements that could be made about any criminal case.