ITHACA, N.Y. — After days of jury selection, opening statements for the Cornell homicide case started yesterday with a prosecutor calling for the jury to connect the dots for a conviction and the defense saying that there is no evidence that the defendant killed anyone.
Nagee Green is on trial a second time after a jury was deadlocked over a murder charge against him in June. Green is accused of fatally stabbing Anthony Nazaire in the chest during a street brawl that broke out after a party at Cornell University on Aug. 28, 2016.
Police arrived at the scene within minutes but Nazaire, an Ithaca College student from Brooklyn, died at the scene.
Despite the deadlock on the second-degree murder charge, Green was convicted of first-degree assault for stabbing Rahiem Williams, another Ithaca College student involved in the brawl, multiple times in the back.
Related — Cornell murder trial: Jury deadlocked on murder charge, Nagee Green found guilty of assault
During opening statements Wednesday though, defense attorney Joseph Joch said there is no proof that Green wielded the knife that stabbed Nazaire.
“We wouldn’t be here if they (police investigators) hadn’t spent three hours breaking Nagee down to the point where they got him to accept their theory that he must have inserted the knife into Anthony Nazaire …”
Joch pointed to several of the same elements from the last trial which likely lead to the jury deadlock of 10-2.
He told jurors that the knife found at the crime scene did not have Nazaire’s blood on it and pointed to the fact that nobody saw the stabbing happen. He also said that video evidence produced by the prosecution during the last trial does not show Green fighting with Nazaire.
But prosecutor Eliza Filipowski said the video evidence — gathered primarily through short social media clips — is crucial to the case.
One video clip shows Green wielding a knife as he swings it toward someone else during the fight.
Filipowski points out that Green can be heard saying, “I kill out here,” as he swings the knife, though the Joch argues that the audio in the video is too distorted to understand.
She also described a second video clip where Green can be seen running toward Nazaire and Williams.
“That video clip shuts off just as the defendant is in front of Anthony with the knife still in his hand,” she said. “No one was looking out for what was about to happen next and we don’t have a video of it. But were going to ask you to connect the dots.”
Filipowski told jurors they would hear from Williams who will recount what happened to his best friend that night, and Williams will testify, as he did in the first trial, that Green was the only one around when Nazaire collapsed on his legs and died from a stab wound.
The trial started again Thursday morning.
Editor’s note: Green’s attorney Michael Perehinec is on The Ithaca Voice Board of Directors. We do not feel that this has influenced our coverage. Please contact Executive Director Mike Blaney with comments or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org