Jurors hear account

Published 12:06 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vidalia — Jurors heard testimony Wednesday in court from murder victim Reginald “Chucky” Green’s half sister, who was also the girlfriend of one of the defendants accused of his murder at the time of the murder.

Green’s half sister, Genesia Green, told jurors about conversations she had with both her then-boyfriend, defendant Bryant Bethley, and with the victim, on the night of April 3, 2010.

Bethley, 126 Lee Tyler Road, is accused of second-degree murder of Green, 25, and of attempted second-degree murder of three passengers in the car with Green during the incident, including Kenneth Leonard, Myisha Leonard and Kevin Carter.

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Daniel Butler, who was allegedly in the vehicle in which Bethley fled the scene, is also on trial for second-degree murder of Green and attempted second-degree murder of the passengers because of his presence during the incident. In addition, Butler is on trial for obstruction of justice stemming from an allegation that he attempted to dispose of unused .223 caliber cartridges in a culvert — the same type of bullets used to kill Green, prosecutors say.

Genesia said the victim called Bethley at approximately noon the day of the murder and accused him of stealing $700 — which she and the victim’s mother needed to pay bills — from their mother’s house, where Bethley, Genesia and the victim were living at the time.

Genesia said Bethley called her at approximately 10 p.m. —approximately 15 minutes before the fatal shooting — and asked where her brother was, at which point Genesia said she did not know before overhearing Bethley talking to his cousin and sister.

“(Behtley) said, ‘Hey Lil Man (Bethley’s cousin, Lamar Butler), get in your car and block him in,’” Genisia said.

Genisia said she also heard Bethley say to his sister, “‘Donna, pop your trunk and give me that out of your trunk.’”

Before Genisia’s testimony, firearms identification court expert Michael Stelly testified that the Bushmaster assault rifle was the same weapon that fired the spent cartridges found at the crime scene.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officer Joey Tarver also testified that he discovered the Bushmaster after approximately 20 minutes of dragging a net in Black Bayou near a bridge, shortly after the murder. Tarver said John Cowan, who was an FPD officer at the time of the incident, directed him to the location police believed the gun was dropped, based on information they gathered.

Genesia said after Bethley asked her where her brother was and overheard him talking, she called the victim, Reginald.

“I told Reginald to be careful,” Genesia said. “Reginald said he was all right.”

Bethley’s defense attorney, Derrick Carson, questioned Genesia about the credibility of her statements upon cross-examination.

Carson said notes the former officer, Cowan, took during an interview with Genesia early the next morning after the murder excluded information she heard Bethley say to “Lil Man,” or Lamar Butler. The car police believe the defendants drove to the crime scene belonged to Leonard Butler, police testified.

“Are you 100 percent sure?” Carson repeated a number of times to Genesia.

Upon questions asked during redirection by District Attorney Brad Burget, Genesia confirmed that while the details about Lamar were not described in Cowan’s notes, Cowan wrote down that Lil Man was Lamar Butler, so Genesia probably talked about him at some point during the interview.

Jurors also watched video clips taken from cameras attached to the lapels of two Ferriday Police Officers of the crime scene the night of the murder. The clips mostly contained police lights, groups of people and video of the Chevy Blazer in which the victim was killed.

FPD Officer Rob Polk estimated 200 to 250 people were at the crime scene when he arrived as one of the first responders along with two other FPD officers.

“Everybody was screaming, crying, yelling,” Polk said. “I had trouble getting out of the car (because of the number of people).”

Polk also said large groups of people gathered in the block of the murder at 803 Alabama Ave., was common.

Polk said Lamar was located near the crime scene, and police arrested him and brought him to the station to give a statement. Polk said shortly after the day of the murder, he also arrested Bethley at an apartment, where Bethley was arrested without struggle.

Polk and Cowan also testified that he discovered the live cartridges — evidence the defendant, Butler, is accused of obstructing — in a culvert.

Butler’s attorney, Madaline Gibbs, questioned court expert, Stully, about the possibility of obtaining fingerprints of a box containing the Remington live cartridges. Stully said it was possible to get fingerprints of the box, but fingerprints were not requested for reasons he did not know.

Court was recessed shortly after 7 p.m. and will continue this morning.

Burget said Monday he hopes the trial will be complete by the end of the week.