A Clay County jury was unable to reach a verdict Thursday in the murder trial of Justin Wayne Green, resulting in a mistrial. Green has admitted responsibility in the in the 2007 death of Jose Ramirez, but claims self-defense.
The panel of six men and six women began deliberations at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, and deliberated until approximately 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The jury paused deliberations Wednesday to hear Green’s recorded interview with investigators, and twice on Thursday to settle a discrepancy in testimony.
The jury first informed visiting District Judge Roger Towery that they would not be able to reach a verdict mid-afternoon. On the second notice, he declared a mistrial on a motion made by Defense Attorney Dustin Nimz.
“Because a motion for mistrial has been granted, double jeopardy is not attached. Therefore, we will reset it and try him again,” said District Attorney Paige Williams. I see another trial on the horizon.”
Ten jurors were in favor of a guilty verdict. Two voted against.
“I’m very disappointed, and judging by some of their reactions, I believe some of your jurors are disappointed too,” said Williams.
While Justin Green will be retried for murder, his mother, Terri Green, sister, Brittany Green, and a family friend, Stephanie Corral, also face charges of tampering with physical evidence. They are accused of helping Justin Green cover up the death of Ramirez.
According to testimony, Green entered a bedroom occupied by Ramirez at a residence in the 1700 block of FM 2332, south of Petrolia on Aug. 9, 2007, and shot the victim twice with a 9 mm military-style rifle.
Green’s defense team argued that the defendant shot Ramirez in an act of self-preservation after Ramirez verbally attacked Green, threatening to kill him and his family. Attorneys for Green said that Ramirez was sitting on the edge of the bed when he reached over, picked up and cocked one of three guns laying beside him.
Testifying in his own defense, Green said that Ramirez pointed the gun at him. As Ramirez cocked the gun, Green said he reached over and grabbed a rifle from the bed, and fired it until Ramirez stopped coming toward him.
Green and his mother, Terri Green, who also lived in the home, each testified that Ramirez had pointed a firearm at Terri Green and Justin Green’s 15-month-old son on the afternoon prior to Ramirez’s death.
Prosecutors argued that Green killed Ramirez for personal gain.
After Green killed Ramirez, he drug the 23-year-old man’s body into the garage, loaded it into the bed of his pickup and buried Ramirez face-down in a shallow grave. His remains were discovered by investigators in February 2012.
In the months after Ramirez’s death, Green spent more than $9,200 of Ramirez’s money using a debit card in the victim’s name. Green also gave away several weapons belonging to Ramirez. In testimony, Green said some of the weapons were stolen, including a handgun he had given to his sister, Brittany Green, and a friend, Stephanie Corral.
Prosecutors also proved that Green shot Ramirez with his own rifle, and not a 9 mm pistol belonging to Ramirez as first claimed by the defense.
Green later testified that he did own the weapon used to kill Ramirez, but said he had stored the gun in Ramirez’s room for safe keeping while his son was at the home.
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