Pocahontas, Ark. — Discussing Billy Dale Green’s surprise decision to take the stand in his capital murder trial Monday, defense attorney James Wyatt said that it was “Green’s choice.” Wyatt described Green as a “strong witness” and said he thought he did a “good job.”
Billy Dale Green took the stand a little after 1 p.m. Monday, with his son Chad waiting to take the stand. Billy had not testified in his 2004 trial when he was tried and convicted of four counts of murder and kidnapping and received the death penalty. This conviction was overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court, and this new trial was ordered. Once Billy took the stand, Chad was not called.
The calm, articulate Billy Green who took the witness stand Monday was a contradiction to the picture of the abusive, wild man painted in previous testimony in previous cases.
Billy presented himself as a shocked father who has found out that his oldest son had committed an atrocity and rightly or wrongly was seeking to protect him.
In direct contradiction to the story presented by Mary Green Wilson, Billy’s ex-wife, Billy said that he was home all night on July 29 until he went to work at about 5 a.m. the next morning. He said the only phone call he got was from Mary, who wanted to know which route to take home in the storms. He said the route he told her to take would have added an extra 20 minutes to her regular 25-minute trip home from her job at a Pocahontas nursing home where she worked a 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. He said he and Mary listened to the police scanner go off on the disturbance that night at Dalton but said that it was of no concern.
He said Chad had been out of pocket and they had not heard from him in several days. When Billy and the rest of the Green men were supposed to show up at the Thompson farm to repair water gates that morning, he sent Mary over to Chad’s on Allen trail to get him to the meeting point. He said Mary told him she could not get Chad up and he did not go to work with the rest of the team, who Billy said worked until 4 pm. on the 30th.The team was made up of Billy, Jason, and Josh. Billy said he did not see Chad on the 31st and did not meet up with him until Aug. 1, when he received a call from Chad asking him to go get him at Bonnie Hensley Cantrell’s in Ozark Acres. Instead, Billy picked Chad up at the Water Wheel, a convenience store near Williford., Ark.
During this ride back to Allen Trail (Chad’s great grandmother’s house where he was living), Billy said he learned the extent of Chad’s involvement in the Elliott murders. Billy described a tearful Chad who tells him, “I did it.” Billy told Wyatt that Chad had been down to the Eleven Point River with Bonnie and walked back up to the Elliott’s to get Carl and the Thunderbird. He said he had been smoking meth and got into an argument, shot Carl in the eyes, and because everyone knew, he rushed in the house and killed Gregory, got Felicia, was looking for Lisa and killed her. Billy said Chad told him he got in the Elliott’s Thunderbird with Felicia, went back down to the river and swapped out batteries with his grey Dodge truck and took off east toward Baker Dent. Chad is coming toward me, Billy said. “Dad what did I do?” “But he’s scared to come and tell.” The truck he is driving has a shifter that sticks and he needs a wrench to keep it going, so he stops at his grandfather’s at about 3 a.m. and asks for a wrench. Billy said Chad then bypasses the Townsend Road house and goes on to an abandoned house where he parks the truck and goes into the woods In these woods he drowns the 8-year-old Felicia and stabs her. He then begins his jungle run through thick brush that cuts him up . The jungle run takes him back to Allen Trail and his great-grandmother’s house. Billy described his son’s physical condition as “cut up pretty bad. He was covered with scratches, his hands and neck.”
Billy admitted that he “messed up a long time ago, by not coming forward. But said he was my oldest son, what was I to do?” Billy admitted to covering for Chad. “I didn’t want to see him executed.”
Earlier in the day, Josh Green took the stand, repudiated his former testimony and said that his mother had coerced him into the false testimony. And by changing his testimony Monday was “doing it to make things right.” Josh said, “I can’t live with a lie, and I am doing this for myself.” Josh had previously agreed that Chad had called on the murder night and that Billy had gone out.
An obviously angry Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce lashed out, “Earlier today you said that your mother’s was the only phone call. Are you calling her a liar?”
Josh Green said, “Yes I am.” He said Jason and Amber were also lying. When Boyce asked him if he was the only one telling the truth. Josh responded “Yes I am.”
In other testimony, the defense and prosecution traded testimony over the date that Chad had a faded silver Dodge truck repossessed by his uncle. One set of testimony put the date well into August 1998, and the other said the truck was repossessed sometime in June 1998.
Mary Green Wilson was brought back as a rebuttal witness, and she said that she told the truth.
Both the prosecution and defense have rested.
Closing arguments are to be presented by the prosecution and defense Tuesday morning. The case could go to the jury before noon.
— Caroll Lucas
©2012 Hill ’n Holler Review
For links to previous Hill ’n Holler stories on Billy and Chad Green, go HERE.