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Kidnapping case in hands of jury

June 25, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A defense attorney asked jurors Thursday to consider this question: If Brandon D. Green was their brother or child, would they want him to spend the rest of his life in prison based on testimony he called unreliable, inconsistent and not truthful?

Green, 22, is on trial in Circuit Court on charges that he beat and kicked a woman and kidnapped her by placing her in her car's trunk. She escaped after popping the trunk's internal release mechanism as the car turned around in the Interstate 70 median near Clear Spring.

Green is charged with kidnapping, malicious assault, grand larceny, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit malicious assault and conspiracy to commit grand larceny.

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"Nothing in this case makes sense," Kevin Mills, Green's defense attorney, told jurors during his closing argument. He said several of the state's witnesses, including two serving prison terms for their involvement in the case, were not credible.

He said the victim, Misty Dawn Hyson, 25, cannot be trusted because she was not truthful when questioned about her past drug use.

He said the prosecutor may have used photos, graphics and maps during her closing argument using PowerPoint, but that he had something better.

"We have the facts," Mills said.

He ended his argument by saying Green's father entrusted his son's future to him and that he now must hand over that care.

"Brandon's fate is now in your hands," Mills told jurors.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely also asked jurors to consider the case on a personal level, asking jurors whether they would want a son or daughter treated as Hyson was.

Hyson earlier testified that Green beat her, kicked her, slammed her head against a wall, put a trash bag over her head and threw her into her car's trunk. She spent several days in two hospitals.

"Misty Hyson has no one else to stand up for her," Games-Neely told the eight men and four women on the jury.

Closing arguments came in the afternoon after the state rested its case.

Mills called no witnesses to the stand and Green did not testify. Jurors could have started deliberating at around 4:35 p.m., but decided to go home instead and begin deliberations this morning.

Amber Crummitt, who was Green's girlfriend at the time of the alleged July 9, 2002 assault - testified for the prosecution Thursday, the third day of the trial.

Crummitt, 22, testified that she and Hyson had been friends for about two years. On that July day Hyson came to Green's Lariat Drive home, where Crummitt was living, to pick up Crummitt so they could look for a new car.

Hyson said she was going to bring $1,000 with her for a down payment, Crummitt testified. Several witnesses have said the assault took place in Green's back yard.

Crummitt said that after assaulting Hyson and putting her in the trunk of her Honda Accord, Green, Crummitt and Daniel Herbert, 19, left. Crummitt said they drove to a Burger King and a car wash and then went to the Valley Mall.

Green and Herbert, believing Hyson to be dead, discussed getting rid of her body, Crummitt testified.

Games-Neely asked Crummitt how she felt when Hyson jumped out of the trunk.

"I was actually happy for her. That she got away. That she was still alive," Crummitt said.

On cross-examination, Mills asked Crummitt whether she felt remorse, to which Crummitt replied that she did and wrote a letter of apology to the victim.

Crummitt said she told the truth to West Virginia State Police troopers because she was troubled by what had happened to her friend.

Mills asked Crummitt whether jurors could determine her credibility based on those feelings. Crummitt said they could.

Mills then handed her a police report of an interview troopers conducted with Crummitt more than a year after the alleged kidnapping.

He asked Crummitt to read a highlighted section aloud, in which she denied knowing Hyson was in the trunk until she got out.

Mills snapped the paper and shook his head and several audience members murmured at that time, as Mills ended his questioning.

Kidnapping is a capital offense, meaning if convicted, Green could spend the rest of his life in prison. Jurors could recommend mercy, however, meaning he would be eligible for a parole hearing after serving 15 years.

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