ITHACA, N.Y.—A New York State Supreme Court judge upheld Nagee Green’s conviction in the 2016 murder of Ithaca College student Anthony Nazaire, a decision announced on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Nazaire, Green and a third man were involved in a fight in the early morning hours of Aug. 28, 2016, when Nazaire and the other man, Rahiem Williams, both suffered several stab wounds. Nazaire died due to his injuries, which included several stabbing injuries to the chest. The brawl took place outside of a large party near Cornell. Nazaire was 19 years old.
Green, of Freeville, had been convicted in 2017 on charges of second degree murder and second degree assault and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. The conviction took two trials, as the jury convicted Green of assault in the first trial but could not come to a resolution on the murder charge; at the second trial, he was convicted of both charges.
“This decision represents the final product of the extensive judicial review of the two trials of Nagee Green,” said District Attorney Matt Van Houten, who has been steadfastly insisted that the conviction and process beforehand were proper and legal. “Every legal challenge raised by the defendant was considered by the appellate court and found to be without merit. Nagee Green received two fair trials and was proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have committed the murder of Anthony Nazaire. While nothing can bring Anthony back, this decision provides a measure of justice for his family.”
The judge did acknowledge that “a different verdict would not have been unreasonable given the lack of any eyewitness account or video recording of the stabbing, the questions as to how reliable defendant’s statements to investigators were, and the lack of DNA testing that tied defendant or Nazaire to the knife recovered at the scene,” but that regardless, “viewing the evidence in a neutral light and deferring to the jury’s resolution of issues of credibility, we find that the verdict is not against the weight of the evidence.”
Green’s case has become one of the many focuses of local protesters seeking criminal justice reform in the area, and Green’s family has led a few actions designed to draw attention to his case and protest his conviction. A website was established to try to poke holes in the evidence against Green.
Some of these objections were addressed in the judge’s ruling, most notably that Green’s confession to police was coerced. Essentially, the judge found that while police did overstate the evidence they had against Green at the time, it cites previous court precedent that allows police to “lie or use some deceptive methods in their questioning as long as the deception was not so fundamentally unfair as to deny due process (…) and was not so extensive as to induce a false confession or overcome a defendant’s will.”
You can read the full decision here. The judge’s analysis of Green’s arguments for appeal can be found starting on page 4.
Editor’s Note: Defense Attorney Michael Perehinec, who represented Nagee Green, is on The Ithaca Voice Board of Directors. We do not feel that this has influenced our coverage. Please contact Senior Reporter Anna Lamb at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or concerns.