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Grocer's attacker sentenced to 35 years

November 15, 1996

11/15/96

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Ronnie Clifton Green was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in prison for the brutal stabbing of grocer Lenzlea Fairfax Mosby Jr. in his grocery store.

Green, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of assault with intent to murder and armed robbery.

Mosby said he was satisfied with the length of the sentence. But he said that nothing will ever put his life back the way it was.

Green's attorney, David Littrell, told Washington County Circuit Judge Fred Wright that Green hasn't been out of the state prison system for a full year since 1978.

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"He has a long history of mental illness,'' said Littrell, noting that he earlier had explored the possibility of Green entering a plea of not criminally responsible.

Deputy State's Attorney Charles Strong said Green had a larceny conviction in 1973 and received a 20-year prison sentence in 1978 for a robbery conviction.

Green served most of that sentence, but was back in jail within a year of his release in January 1993, Strong said.

"The one blessing in this case is that Mr. Mosby didn't die,'' Strong said.

Green kept his eyes lowered as Mosby testified about the trauma, both physical and emotional, that he suffered as a result of the attack.

"Ronnie sent a message to me through a mutual friend, asking for forgiveness,'' Mosby said Thursday morning. "He said he wants to be my friend.''

Mosby said that while he can, with God's help, forgive Green, he would not feel safe if Green was released from prison.

"I fear he would finish what he started,'' Mosby said.

Green said he was sorry for what had happened.

"I'm glad he is in good health and back to work ... and living,'' Green said.

The stabbing occurred at 1:50 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, in Mosby's grocery story at 249 N. Jonathan St. in Hagerstown.

Mosby first saw Green that day at around 11 a.m., when he refused to cash an altered money order for him, according to court records.

Green left but came back around 1:30 p.m., again asking Mosby for money. Again Mosby turned him down, court records said.

A few minutes later, Green struck Mosby when his back was turned, then stabbed the grocer more than a dozen times, court records said.

Green then rolled Mosby over and took $420 from his pockets, court records said.

He was apprehended a few minutes later, hiding in a friend's closet at the Dagmar Hotel.

Mosby was taken to Washington County Hospital after the attack.

"I was in the hospital for 25 days the first time, home for six weeks, and then back in again,'' Mosby said.

Mosby continues to undergo physical and occupational therapy.

Mosby is back at work in his store but continues to have health problems and financial difficulties because of huge medical bills.

Mosby had no health insurance at the time of the attack. His bills totaled $80,000.

"I got $40,000 from the good people of Hagerstown,'' Mosby said.

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