ITHACA, N.Y. — With a jury in place, opening statements began Monday in the trial of Nagee Green, who is facing charges of murder, manslaughter and assault in connection with the death of an Ithaca College student.
Two narratives were introduced to the jury during opening statements. While the prosecution says it is clear that Green intended to murder Anthony Nazaire, the defense argues the dots don’t connect.
Opening statements began around 2:45 p.m. after Judge John Rowley, who is presiding over the case, gave instructions to the jury.
Green, 23, was indicted in November on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault. If convicted of murder or manslaughter, Green could face up to 25 years in prison.
District Attorney Matthew Van Houten and Assistant District Attorney Eliza Filipowski are prosecuting the case. Green is represented by attorneys Joseph Joch and Michael Perehinec.
“This was not an accident. This was not a mistake,” Filipowski said.
In August, 19-year-old Nazaire was fatally stabbed in the chest while at an event at Cornell University. Another man, Raheim Williams, was stabbed three times in his back but survived. Both were stabbed during a brawl that occurred in front of Ho Plaza at Cornell University.
Nazaire was a Brooklyn native and a sophomore in the School of Business at Ithaca College.
Filipowski said while the scene that night was chaotic, the prosecution will show that one thing is clear — that Green intentionally murdered Nazaire.
Filipowski said Green, Nazaire and Williams were with about 300 people who had attended a party at Willard Straight Hall, hosted by a Cornell fraternity. She said there were people from Cornell, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Ithaca College and the community. After the party, when people were filtering out onto Ho Plaza, Filipowski said a number of small fights broke out.
Witnesses have said a major fight broke out after a young manned bumped into a young lady, sparking a fight between the two large groups of people.
After Filipowski concluded her opening statement, defense attorney Joch said the defense moved to dismiss both counts on the indictment. He said the prosecution failed to describe the charges in the indictment and did not touch on the issue of criminal intent. Rowley said he would review Filipowski’s opening statement Monday night.
One thing the prosecution and defense agreed on was that the scene that night was chaotic. Some of the evidence will be short Snapchat videos. Joch said the jury will see that the videos are dark, shaky and short.
Joch said the prosecution has “cherry picked” evidence to support their theory.
“What you just heard was a nice coherent story,” Joch said referring to the prosecution’s opening statement. “You might see it is the theory of the prosecution in this case. And that’s fine. The trouble is the theory has to be supported by evidence. … and connects all the dots. Well it doesn’t connect all the dots. The videos don’t connect the dots. They’re shaky, dark … hard to even pick out who is who unless you have a witness on the stand.”
The trial will resume Tuesday morning.
This story will be updated.
Featured image: From left, attorney Michael Perehinec and Nagee Green listen to opening statements. Kelsey O’Connor/Ithaca Voice
Editor’s note: Attorney Michael Perehinec is on The Ithaca Voice Board of Directors. We do not feel that this has influenced our coverage. Please contact Managing Editor Jolene Almendarez at email@example.com comments or concerns.