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Man sentenced in kidnapping

October 26, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A "heartbreaking case" in which a lawyer and acquaintances of a 22-year-old man pleaded with a judge Monday to be lenient in his sentencing came to a close when the judge sentenced the man to life in prison.

Gasps went up from the area where friends and family members of Brandon D. Green were seated when Berkeley County Circuit Judge David Sanders sentenced Green to life with mercy.

Green, of Martinsburg, was found guilty in June on five charges in a case in which a woman was battered and placed in the trunk of her Honda Accord on July 9, 2002. The victim, Misty Dawn Hyson, 25, escaped after popping the trunk's internal release mechanism when the car turned around in the Interstate 70 median near Clear Spring.

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There was conflicting accounts among lawyers in the case about when Green will be eligible for parole.

Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said Green will be eligible for parole in 15 years on the life sentence. Considering other charges that Green was convicted of in the case, his minimum prison sentence will be 17 years, Games-Neely said.

Green's attorney, Kevin Mills, said because Green has no prior convictions he will be eligible for parole on the life sentence in 10 years. Mills said he is basing his opinion on a state law that went into effect in 1994.

Sanders also sentenced Green to serve from one to 10 years in prison for grand larceny and one year in the Eastern Regional Jail for battery, Mills said.

Green also was sentenced to serve from one to five years for conspiracy to commit kidnapping, although that sentence will run concurrently with the life sentence, Mills said. Sanders sentenced Green to from one to five years for conspiracy to commit grand larceny, although that sentence will run concurrently with the grand larceny sentence, Mills said.

Mills said it appears Green's minimum prison sentence will be 12 years.

The background in the case made it an emotional story.

Friends and family members testified in court Monday that Green has always been a polite and respectful person. Green, who had a learning disability, enjoyed playing football, said his father, Patrick Green. Green tried to get scholarships in high school, but when low grades hurt his chances for scholarships, it affected him, his father said.

Green started using marijuana and his attitude changed, Patrick Green said.

Friends of Green asked Sanders to be lenient in his sentencing and Mills requested that Sanders place Green at the Anthony Correctional Center for youthful offenders. The Anthony Correctional Center offers programs such as anger control, substance abuse help and a comprehensive academic and vocational training curriculum.

Kevin Carter, a friend of Green's, said there is no rehabilitation in prison, and Mills told Sanders that prison is a "hardening experience."

Mills said Green is "a near child in many ways. He is someone who is salvageable," Mills said.

Sanders recognized the emotions in the case.

"This is really a heartbreaking case and I'm a parent myself," Sanders said.

But Sanders said the courts are not empowered to impose sentences such as at The Anthony Correctional Center or home incarceration when there is a conviction on a charge that carries a life penalty.

Sanders also called attention to the details in what he called a "shocking case."

Hyson was "assaulted within inches of her life" and at one point, those involved in the incident thought she was dead, Sanders said.

Games-Neely acknowledged that Green comes from a good family, but things "went wrong somewhere along the line."

A sentence equivalent to a slap on the wrist would not be appropriate, Games-Neely said.

Hyson testified Monday that she will never forget what happened.

Green also made a statement in court.

"I just want to say I'm sorry for what happened to the victim," Green said.

Mills also requested a new trial Monday, which Sanders turned down.

To make his argument for a new trial, Mills cited a number of errors in the case. One of the errors was when attorney Paul Taylor, who initially represented Green in the case, was never able to get access to Hyson's car to do his own inspection of the car.

Mills plans to appeal Green's conviction to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

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