SCHENECTADY — Opening statements were heard Thursday in the case of Latrisha Greene, who is accused of perjury for her testimony in the case of her husband, who was found guilty of murdering the couple’s four-year-old foster child in 2020.
Judge Chad Brown expects the trial to last two weeks at the Schenectady County Courthouse. Thursday morning, the court heard opening statements from prosecutor Mike Nobles and Greene’s attorney, Mark Juda.
Latrisha Greene, 27, of Rotterdam, was arraigned on a seven-count indictment in December 2022, and accused of five counts of perjury, class D felonies, for allegedly falsifying testimony in the case of her husband Dequan Greene. Latrisha Greene is also being tried for two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, class A misdemeanors.
Dequan Greene was convicted last year of murdering four-year-old Charlie Garay, the Greene’s foster child, on Dec. 20, 2020 in the couple’s Rotterdam home. Dequan is now serving a maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison.
Latrisha Greene is on trial for lying about multiple points during Schenectady County Family Court testimony concerning her own children, who were taken from her as a result of the Garay murder.
Nobles outlined for the jury what he called, a “story of two brothers,” about Garay and his then-five-year-old brother. The boys had been removed from the home of their biological mother in the summer of 2020 by Albany County Protective Services, Nobles said. The Greenes had three children of their own living with them when Charlie Garay and his brother were placed with them, and the couple had taken the necessary courses and become certified foster parents.
“One of the things that they [the Greenes] were told as foster parents, was absolutely no physical or corporal punishment,” Nobles said.
Nobles told the jury that text message evidence from Latrisha Greene’s phone to Dequan’s phone shows that Latrisha knew her husband was physically abusing not only Charlie and his brother, but that he had also been physically abusive towards her own daughter in April 2020.
Foster parents are provided with a subsidy to offset the cost of taking care of foster children, Nobles said. The Greenes were initially paid $19.31 for each of the boys per day, or $1,158.60 for both brothers each month. Nobles said, after realizing this amount they would receive for fostering the boys, the Greenes “became less enthusiastic” about the boys. The amount was later increased to $2,800 a month, he said.
“Cruel punishments,” involving water, for the boys began in early October, Nobles said. He told the jury they would see video evidence taken of this.
Nobles said the Greenes used excuses, such as needing to quarantine and saying the Garays were too sick with fevers to attend visitations in-person.
Nobles told the court that, on Dec. 4, 2020, Latrisha Greene sent her husband a text message that stated, “No more bruises, we need them to heal.” That text is a glimpse, Nobles said. He said, in her text, she is not concerned about the boys. She is concerned about herself and her husband, and the money they are receiving every month.
Dec. 20, 2020, Charlie Garay fell asleep on the living room couch and wet himself, Nobles said. Later that day, Latrisha Greene went to Walmart, while her husband abused Garay. He was pronounced dead at Ellis Hospital. The autopsy found bruises and abrasions in various states of healing, some newer and some older, Nobles said. Seven hundred milliliters of blood, about 30% of all the blood in Garay’s body, bled into his abdomen after Dequan stomped on him, Nobles said.
“That night she [Latrisha Greene] made a choice to say nothing of the maltreatment, nothing of the abuse, nothing of the bruises, nothing of the truth,” Nobles said. “She chose to protect herself and her husband, even if it meant Charlie had to die to keep those secrets hidden.”
Charlie’s brother was in the living room at the time, and saw what Dequan did to Charlie, Nobles said. He, and the Greenes’ other children were interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center. Charlie’s brother will not testify in this trial, Nobles said.
“We can, and will, prove the defendant’s guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt, without him testifying,” Nobles said.
Juda said the first five counts of the indictment, regarding perjury, are not true. He said the evidence is going to show that Latrisha Greene “did not, in fact, intentionally make any false statements.”
Latrisha Greene did not endanger Charlie or his brother, Juda said.
The Garays “were definitely failed by a lot of people in this case,” Juda said. “Their birth parents, social services, the foster care system.”
But it was his client, Latrisha Greene, who tried to get the boys the most services, Juda said.
The evidence is going to show that on Dec. 20, 2020, Latrisha Greene was at Walmart, Juda said. When she found out that Charlie Garay was unresponsive, she immediately called 911, he said.
Family members and social services all had the opportunity to see Charlie and his brother prior to Dec. 20, 2020, Juda said. No one raised any concerns, he said. Clearly, some of those visits were via Zoom, he said.
“All that Mr. Nobles just told you, everything that I am telling you right now, is not evidence,” Juda said. “You haven’t heard anything yet. All I’m asking is that you keep an open mind, and listen to the evidence in this case.”