Trenton murder suspect Isiah Greene remains cool during cop’s testimony
Freshly groomed and nicely dressed, murder suspect Isiah Greene appeared cool, calm and collected in court Tuesday as a police officer testified that she photographed the defendant several years ago when he was recovering from a gunshot wound to the foot.
With the image being projected on a screen, Trenton Police Detective Maricelis Rosa-Delgado said she took that photo depicting Greene on a hospital bed with his left foot bandaged at Capital Health Regional Medical Center on the morning of July 21, 2013 — the same date that Greene allegedly shot and killed 24-year-old city man Quaadir “Ace” Gurley at Trenton’s Donnelly Homes housing complex.
When a prosecutor asked Rosa-Delgado if the man in the photo was present in the courtroom and if she could see him, the detective looked at Greene and talked about the clothing he was wearing.
“White dress shirt, tie; I believe that’s a sweater,” Rosa-Delgado said of the black sweater vest Greene was sporting on top of his long-sleeved shirt.
Greene, 23, appeared unfazed through Rosa-Delgado’s testimony. At times he placed his right hand under his chin and slightly reclined in his chair. On another occasion he yawned.
It wasn’t Greene’s first rodeo as a defendant on trial for murder. Prosecutors previously tried him 15 months ago in a court of law, but an indecisive jury could not render a verdict, prompting a judge to declare a mistrial on Oct. 16, 2015.
In the initial trial that ended in a hung jury, prosecutors said Greene shot himself in the foot while shooting Gurley. Greene took the stand and offered a different explanation, saying he had been struck by a wayward bullet, possibly one that had ricocheted off buildings when another gunman opened fire on Gurley. He said he saw the gunman run past him but he didn’t get a good glimpse of his face.
Rosa-Delgado arrived at the murder scene at 2:07 a.m. — not long after Gurley died — and took photographs till about 6 a.m. Then she headed to 29 Sanhican Drive to take pictures of reddish-brown stains suspected to be Greene’s blood at 6:55 a.m. After that, she went to Capital Health Regional Medical Center and collected clothing and other items that belonged to Greene and Gurley at 7:10 a.m., according to her testimony in the retrial.
While on the witness stand Tuesday, Rosa-Delgado displayed the white Air Jordan speakers that belonged to Gurley. Several hours after the murder, a hospital security officer turned over the slain victim’s possessions to Rosa-Delgado, who testified that the items on Tuesday appeared to be the same or substantially similar to the condition she originally found them in three-plus years ago.
The detective on the witness stand also displayed some of the items that belonged to Greene, including the socks that Greene wore on the day he was hospitalized for his gunshot wound to the foot. One of those socks appeared to have a dark brown stain on the sole area, presumably Greene’s dried blood. Greene’s hospital items on Tuesday appeared to be the same or substantially similar to the condition Rosa-Delgado originally found them in, she said.
When Greene’s defense attorney Mark Fury got the chance to cross examine Rosa-Delgado Tuesday afternoon, he immediately jockeyed for a position to possibly insert reasonable doubt into the minds of the 15-member-strong racially diverse jury.
“It was a full moon, wasn’t it?” Fury said.
“I’m not sure, sir,” Rosa-Delgado responded.
“You didn’t note in your report that lighting was poor and you were having trouble finding stuff,” the defense attorney said.
“No, I did not,” the police detective responded.
Mentioning how Rosa-Delgado found multiple shell casings, several spots of suspected blood and a ring at the scene where Gurley was slain, Fury said, “You didn’t have any trouble finding this stuff, right?”
Catching his stride, Fury moments later said, “No one suggested this was a robbery, did they?”
“No,” the veteran police detective responded.
“You didn’t find anything that ties Mr. Greene to the scene?” he asked her.
“No, I did not,” she said in response.
Fury went on to suggest that a bad cop could have tampered with evidence without Rosa-Delgado ever noticing.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Matos countered with the courtroom equivalent of a Hail Mary pass, asking Rosa-Delgado if she sees better at night.
“I have glaucoma,” Rosa-Delgado responded. “I see better at night than day.”
Superior Court Judge Anthony Massi told the jury to disregard Rosa-Delgado’s final remark.
Staff writer Isaac Avilucea contributed to this report.