Jurors rehear cop’s testimony in Isiah Greene’s murder retrial
The fate of alleged killer Isiah Greene continues to remain in limbo as a jury ponders over the facts and evidence in his murder retrial.
Greene, 23, of Trenton, is accused of possessing a semiautomatic .40 caliber handgun without a permit and using the weapon to shoot and kill “Ace” Quaadir Gurley, a 24-year-old father who had six kids. The slaying occurred at the Donnelly Homes housing complex in the early morning hours of July 21, 2013.
Prosecutors say Greene accidentally shot himself in the foot while shooting Gurley eight times in the abdomen and chest area. The triggerman fired 10 shots that morning. Greene this week testified in his own defense saying he did not shoot Gurley or himself.
The 12-member jury conducted deliberations for about an hour on Wednesday and followed up with several more hours of deliberations on Thursday, but the jurors still could not reach a unanimous decision on whether Greene is guilty or not guilty of murder and weapons offenses.
During Thursday’s backroom deliberations, the jury requested to sit inside Superior Court Judge Anthony Massi’s courtroom to listen to an audio recording of prior testimony in the case.
Specifically, the jurors wanted to once again listen to the testimony of Trenton Police Officer Matthew Bledsoe. Bledsoe took to the witness stand earlier this month and said he had responded to hundreds of shooting incidents since becoming a cop 11 years ago. Based on his “training and experience,” Bledsoe said it is his belief that Greene shot himself in the foot.
The jurors appeared to be focused and could be seen jotting down notes on notepad paper while Bledsoe’s testimony was being played back.
The testimony over whether Greene shot himself while allegedly gunning down Gurley has been a major sticking point in the case going back to the initial October 2015 murder trial that ended in a hung jury.
“They ran with the ‘shot himself in the foot’ thing because they want to think that every criminal is dumb, because it fits their idea,” Greene’s defense attorney Mark Fury said Wednesday in closing arguments. “It satisfies their need to be smart. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit the facts. And frankly, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Comparing Greene’s .40 caliber gunshot wound to Gurley’s .40 caliber gunshot wounds, “It is plain that he did not shoot himself,” Fury said. “It’s more likely what he told you: He was hit by a ricochet.”
The prosecution and defense both agree Greene was at Donnelly Homes and was wounded in the early morning July 2013 shooting, resulting in some of his blood being left at the murder scene where Gurley died that same morning.
But the defense suggests police had possibly planted evidence or tampered with certain items and materials to make it appear as if Greene was responsible for Gurley’s death, while prosecutors say they have legitimate circumstantial evidence and reasonable inference from key facts that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Greene murdered Gurley in “brutal” fashion.
“In a criminal trial, the evidence tells you the story of what happened,” Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Jim Scott said Wednesday in closing arguments. “And the evidence in this case points in only one direction: That Isiah Greene murdered Quaadir Gurley on July 21, 2013, at about 1:30 in the morning.”
“In the midst of firing 10 shots, one of them hit himself in the leg, and the trajectory is in such a point that it has to be self-inflicted,” Scott added.
“The defendant is throwing out this comment, this invitation for you to speculate that this is planted evidence, that the blood is planted, that this is a frame job on Isiah Greene,” Scott said in his closing arguments to the jury, according to an audio recording of the proceeding. “The timeline here knocks that out of the water. The evidence does not support that claim.”
Jury deliberations are scheduled to resume at 9:15 a.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 24.