SCHENECTADY – Allegations filed in court by prosecutors are shedding more light on the case against a Rotterdam foster father accused of killing a 4-year-old boy placed in his care and injuring the boy’s 5-year-old brother.
The motions and disclosures filed in the murder case against Dequan Greene and the evidence tampering case against his wife, Latrisha Greene, paint the awful picture of excessive corporal punishment allegedly inflicted by the foster father that prosecutors say amounted to torture.
Prosecutors say Dequan Greene force-fed the two boys in his care and made them take cold showers, exposed them to extreme cold, made them sit against a wall, and confined the older boy in a dog cage.
The filings describe actions that prosecutors say ended the life of 4-year-old Charlie Garay.
Prosecutors contend Dequan Greene forcefully stepped on Charlie’s stomach area or stomped on his stomach area inside the Greene family home at 2734 Broadway in Rotterdam and then failed to get the child immediate help and failed to tell paramedics what he knew about the boy’s injuries, according to the filing from prosecutor Christine Tremante-Pelham.
The filings in the case against Dequan Greene did not detail what prosecutors believe led up to the Dec. 20 attack against Charlie, but allegations filed by prosecutors against his wife indicate the 4-year-old had been punished earlier that same day by being made to take a cold shower and sit with his back against a wall, all because the younger foster child had wet himself and did not tell the truth about it, according to the allegations.
The filing against Latricia Greene also outlines that, when taken from the Greenes’ home the night of Dec. 20, both of the brothers had “injuries and marks all over their bodies of varying ages.” The boys had been with the Greenes for three months prior to Charlie’s death.
Dequan Greene, 27, of Broadway, was indicted in January on one count of second-degree murder and other charges in connection with the death of the boy prosecutors identified then as Charlie. County officials later identified the boy as Charles Garay.
Latrisha Greene does not face charges in Charlie’s death, but she has been charged with evidence tampering related to the investigation, prosecutors said.
Charlie and his 5-year-old brother had been placed in the Greene’s care in September 2020 by Child Protective Service of the Albany County Department of Social Services, after an order from Albany County Family Court removed them from the care of their biological parents, Schenectady County prosecutors have said previously.
The couple had been certified as foster parents by the Schenectady County Department of Social Services, but previously had only fostered one child for one day, prosecutors said. The couple also have three children of their own, all girls. At the time of alleged murder, their children ranged from infant to 5 years old.
Schenectady County officials in January said the children remained in the care of Albany County Department of Social Services, even though they were physically placed in Schenectady County.
Asked about the case then, an Albany County spokeswoman indicated that county placed the children in Schenectady County because Albany County had no available foster parents who could take the siblings together. Schenectady County had certified foster parents available.
Albany County DSS generally conducts monthly checks on foster care placements, the Albany County spokeswoman said then. Those checks continued under COVID, however, they generally had been held virtually through Facetime. Specific information on any checks completed with the Greenes was not available in January.
The spokeswoman did not answer further questions recently, including on the newly outlined allegations, citing the ongoing case.
The prosecution filings focused only on the criminal cases and not any foster oversight of the couple. Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney stated in January that “questions about how this could have happened are legitimate areas of inquiry for my office to explore.” An inquiry into those issues is still planned as the criminal cases remain ongoing, officials said.
Dequan Greene originally told first responders that Charlie had fallen out of a child’s chair, began to slur his speech and then passed out, prosecutors said. He told others that the child choked, prosecutors said.
Rather than calling 911, however, he called his wife, who was out shopping, prosecutors said. When she returned home, she called 911.
The investigation revealed Charlie died due to “extensive internal injury to his liver and intestines caused by blunt force trauma,” prosecutors said.
Pre-trial hearings in the cases against both Dequan Greene and Latricia Greene are underway, including appearances last week. Latricia Greene’s attorney Danielle Neroni could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Dequan Greene’s attorney James Tyner on Tuesday called what happened a tragedy. His client denies wrongdoing. “This was just a terrible accident,” Tyner said, “but it certainly wasn’t criminal.”
Asked what happened, Tyner said “the child began choking on his dinner and my client did everything he could to help him, including rendering lifesaving CPR and rescue breathing.”
Tyner pointed to testimony at Dequan Greene’s hearing last week where first responders confirmed they arrived and found his client trying to save Charlie’s life, but that Dequan’s efforts and those of first responders were unsuccessful.
Latrisha Greene is accused of tampering with evidence in the case by texting her husband from Ellis Hospital shortly after speaking with police there and requesting he clean the house. She also faces child endangerment counts related to Charlie and his brother.
Prosecutors supported the evidence-tampering count against her by noting in motions that she was well aware of the investigation and that she texted her husband to “clean up the house if you can.” In the time between when police were first there and when they went back with a search warrant, the house had been cleaned up, prosecutors contend.
Child endangerment charges against her include allegations that Latrisha and Dequan Greene used “switches” to strike the children.
Prosecutors allege that both foster parents made Charlie take a cold shower after he wet himself and that Latrisha Greene made Charlie “sit on the wall,” his back against the wall and knees bent.
Both Charlie and his brother were found “to have injuries and marks all over their bodies of varying ages,” Tremante-Pelham wrote. “Injuries that would have been visible to the naked eye.”
Charlie even “had a number of injuries right on his face,” she wrote; his brother had bruises, a fat lip and a torn frenulum.
Prosecutors in January said Charlie’s brother was placed with a new family and that he was “now in an environment where he is safe, loved and cared for.”
Tucked at the end of a required disclosure report in Dequan Greene’s case is a glimpse of the boy’s first days without Charlie – days spent recovering from injuries just before Christmas.
“At the time, [the boy] was alone in the hospital and expressed to nurses that the only thing he was looking forward to was Christmas,” Tremante-Pelham wrote.
Included in a disclosure filing to the defense: The staff at the District Attorney’s Office purchased the boy $800 worth of Christmas gifts.
The boy was ultimately released from the hospital and to his new foster family on Dec. 23.
“That night, the gifts were delivered to his current foster parents by CPS,” Tremante-Pelham wrote in a disclosure to the defense, noting the boy was not told the true origin of the gifts. “[The boy] received the gifts on Christmas morning and was told they were from Santa.”