SCHENECTADY – The foster father now accused of murder in the December death of 4-year-old foster child Charlie Garay initially cited a fall from a chair, according to pretrial testimony in the case Tuesday.
The now-murder defendant Dequan Greene, 27, spoke with Rotterdam Police Officer Daniel Bonitatibus shortly after officers and paramedics arrived at 2734 Broadway in Rotterdam for the unresponsive Charlie.
Bonitatibus was assigned to speak with Greene to get his account of what had happened with Charlie, as paramedics tried to save him at the scene and then took him to the hospital, Bonitatibus testified.
Greene freely gave a brief statement in the home’s kitchen, which the officer transcribed, the officer testified.
In the statement, read in court by Bonitatibus, Greene allegedly indicated that Charlie was sitting in a chair and he fell. Greene asked him if he was OK. Charlie responded that he was, but with slurred speech.
Greene patted Charlie on the face and called his wife Latricia Greene to come home. He administered CPR. She called 911 when she arrived home.
Greene said he continued CPR until paramedics arrived, but Charlie started vomiting with every compression he gave.
Prosecutors have said previously Greene told others the child choked. Prosecutors have also previously referenced the account of the alleged fall from a chair.
Charlie died Dec. 20 of injuries inflicted by his foster father, Dequan Greene, prosecutors say. Greene has since been indicted on second-degree murder and other charges.
Charlie and his 5-year-old sibling had been placed in the Greene’s care in September 2020 by Child Protective Services 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 previously said.
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 completion of the hearing also came the week after the court-appointed representative of Charlie’s estate and representative of his surviving sibling filed suit against both counties and anyone alleged to have been involved in their case’s supervision, contending they missed repeated opportunities to get Charlie out of the home and ultimately save his life.
The lawsuit contended Charlie died from blunt force trauma that severed his liver.
Dequan Greene’s attorney James Tyner has said his client denies wrongdoing, calling it a terrible accident related to the boy choking.
Latrisha Greene does not face charges in Charlie’s death. She was previously charged with evidence tampering, a count that has since been dismissed. That left her facing two misdemeanor child endangerment counts. Her attorney has said Latrisha Greene denies the allegations.
The written statement was completed and Charlie was transported from the home, Bonitatibus said he was assigned to remain in the home with Dequan Greene and other children until detectives could arrive.
As they waited in the home, Bonitatibus said he and Greene talked, “about a little bit of everything.” Greene talked about playing music at church, Greene’s wife being pregnant, about life.
Asked by prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham if Greene said anything more about what happened, Bonitatibus said he did.
When the conversation trailed off at times, Greene once asked “is this normal,” referenced the boy apparently eating corn and asked how Charlie was doing.
In his own questioning, Greene attorney James Tyner asked if Bonitatibus believed Greene wasn’t being evasive, and whether Greene expressed worry for Charlie. The officer agreed.
Tuesday’s appearance concluded the hearing on Greene’s alleged statements and whether he voluntarily gave them. Judge Matthew Sypniewski is to issue his decision later.
Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 518-395-3122, [email protected] or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.