Judge gives max in Rotterdam foster care child murder case – ‘You’re a sociopath’ (with sentencing video)

Judge Matthew Sypniewski, left, imposes sentence on defendant Dequan Greene, right, with Greene's attorney James Tyner, center
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Judge Matthew Sypniewski, left, imposes sentence on defendant Dequan Greene, right, with Greene's attorney James Tyner, center

SCHENECTADY — The Rotterdam man convicted of murdering his 4-year-old foster child two years ago, was sentenced by a judge in Schenectady County Court Tuesday to the maximum of 25 years to life.  

Dequan Greene, a 29-year-old minister, maintained his innocence during a sentencing hearing after a jury found him guilty in September of second-degree murder and other counts for the Dec. 20, 2020 death of his 4-year-old foster child Charlie Garay.

“This whole situation has just been a crazy tragedy,” Greene told the judge in court Tuesday. “I’m not a murderer. I’m not a murderer.”

But Judge Matthew Sypniewski, who was visibly angry as he spoke, imposed the maximum sentence on Greene, a total term of 25 years to life.

“You’re not just a murderer,” the judge told Greene, “you’re a sociopath.”

Prosecutors proved to the jury at trial that Greene murdered Garay by stomping on his chest and attempted to cover it up by not calling 911. He eventually claimed to first responders that the child became unresponsive after falling out of a toddler chair.

Prosecutors argued Charlie and his older brother, who was 5 at the time, were both subjected to months of abuse that began just weeks after the brothers were placed in the care of Greene and his wife, Latrisha, in September 2020 by Albany Child Protective Services. The Greenes were certified foster parents who cared for three children of their own.

 “This is not a case of a person caught up in anger or rage or snapped and hurt someone,” Assistant District Attorney Christina Tremante-Pelham said. “This was a whole day of abuse.”

She urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence, arguing that Greene’s work as a minister and community activist coupled with the fact that he has no prior convictions was not an excuse or leniency.

“This man should not get credit for the fact his only conviction is murdering a child,” she said.

James Tyner, a lawyer for Greene, argued during trial that his client was not responsible for the injuries Garay sustained, pointing instead to efforts by first responders attempting to save the child’s life.

He told the judge that Greene intends to appeal the case.

“While we do disagree with the jury’s verdict and certainly respect it,” Tyner said. “In the vein of my client’s post-conviction remedies … he [Greene] has indicated to me that indeed he does wish to appeal the jury verdict.”

Charlie’s older brother recounted the abuse at the trial, abuse that included food deprivation and being forced to do wall sits for prolonged periods of times. Prosecutors said the Greene captured other abusive behavior on video, including forcing the foster children to sit in small wooden chairs for hours and dumping water on them after falling asleep.

Video from the sentencing:

@dgazette Judge gives max in Rotterdam foster care child murder case – ‘You’re a sociopath’ – With sentencing video -More at DailyGazette.com Daily Gazette

Greene also kept child protective services from assessing the children’s health for a month leading up to Garay’s death, using COVID-19 as an excuse to cancel appointments, according to prosecutors.

A lawsuit has since been filed by the court-appointed guardian of the older brother and the estate of Charlie Garay, claiming that child protective services in both Albany and Schenectady counties missed repeated opportunities to relocate the children.

The older Garay brother is living with foster parents. Sypniewski issued a 100-year order of protection on behalf of the child on Tuesday at the request of Tremante-Pelham.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Greene stomped on Garay’s chest, causing massive internal injuries, including a severed spline, that killed the child instantly following a day of abuse that began after Garay was discovered to have wet the bed.

Instead of calling 911 while the child was lying unresponsive, Greene called his wife, who was out shopping at the time of the incident. She would later call 911 herself, according to prosecutors.

Latrisha Greene was initially charged with tampering with evidence, but those charges were later dismissed.

At his sentencing Tuesday, Greene told the judge that he loved the Garay children as if they were his own and never did anything to hurt them.

“I loved them the same way I loved my children,” he said. “I did not do any of the things that they’re trying to accuse me of.”

The judge, however, responded sharply. The evidence against Greene was overwhelming, the judge told Greene, and that any appeal would certainly fail.

In imposing the maximum sentence, Sypniewski said he wished he could hand down a stiffer term and told Greene that he would likely end up in a maximum security facility.

“Everyone’s going to know you’re a baby killer,” he said. “Good luck with that.”

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.

Categories: News, News, Rotterdam, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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