Defense attorney says Trenton man who allegedly targeted slain witness in 2008 was not involved in his murder
An attorney for Mikal Bush, who is free on $600,000 bail and set to go on trial for murder next year, says his client had nothing to do with the death of a key witness in his case.
The witness is Breion Greenfield, who was gunned down last week in Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Trenton.
Police have not named any suspects in the slaying, nor have they identified any persons of interest.
Bush and Greenfield allegedly had bad blood in the past, and Bush is believed to have targeted Greenfield during a drive-by shooting Oct. 8, 2008.
Prosecutors have said the attempted hit ended in the death of Hassan Peters, an innocent bystander who was playing cards at a residence on the first block of Bellevue Avenue when he was stuck in a hail of bullets.
“I’m certain Mr. Bush had nothing to do with the demise of Mr. Greenfield,” Edward Bertucio, Bush’s attorney, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I’m his lawyer, and I know that to be the case. We’ll let the investigation into Mr. Greenfield’s death unfold and deal with it in the course of trial when it comes it up.”
Bush is scheduled to go on trial in May 2016. It’s unclear if the trial could be postponed due to the death of Greenfield, but Bush’s attorney said he is opposed to any delay.
“This case has languished long enough as it is, and Mr. Bush wants to get this case behind him,” Bertucio said.
It’s unclear if a judge would grant an extension if it comes to that since Greenfield was a pivotal witness who was expected to testify he robbed Bush of a watch, drugs and $450 in cash the day Peters was gunned down.
Greenfield’s aunt lived on Bellevue Avenue, and he testified to as much at a pretrial hearing.
“I want Fozz [Peters]’s mom to know the truth,” Greenfield said in July. “It’s my fault. If it wasn’t for me, he’d still be alive. I did something I had no business doing. Fozz got shot over it.”
A spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about if her office believes Greenfield’s death is tied to his status as a witness in an upcoming murder trial.
However, witness intimidation is a common refrain among prosecutors in Trenton. And no one needs to look further than the 2004 murder of Jeri Lynn Dotson, a “queen” in the Latin Kings who was killed because she witnessed the abduction of her roommate, Alex Ruiz.
Greenfield’s family said he was worried about taking the stand.
“He was always nervous about testifying in the trial,” said Talaya Greenfield, the victim’s aunt. “He was just getting a lot pressure from the prosecutor. They were upset at him for embarrassing them.”
Talaya Greenfield was referring to her nephew’s recent legal troubles. He had been arrested for allegedly robbing a man in July on Union Street with an imitation Uzi.
Days later, Greenfield escaped custody.
Wearing only a hospital gown, socks and handcuffs, Greenfield slipped corrections officers while at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he was taken for unspecified medical attention. He wriggled one of his hands free from the shackles and led authorities on a chase through the city, breaking the window of a home on Nassau Street. He forced his way into a home on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard before he was apprehended.
Greenfield’s family said they are unaware of any specific enemies he made on the streets, but police have said he was a notorious “stickup robber.”
Greenfield was free on $100,000 bail and had an upcoming court date. His family does not know why he was in the park that day, hours before Thanksgiving. And they haven’t received much information from authorities because the investigation is ongoing.
Talaya Greenfield remembers her last conversation with her nephew.
“He always called me his No. 1 auntie,” she said.