Crime - Sacto 911

Could Samantha Green get a new trial in baby Justice’s death?

Samantha Green’s defense attorney demanded a new trial for the Woodland mother convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her infant son in a frigid Knights Landing slough in February 2015, alleging evidence presented at Green’s trial didn’t support the jury’s guilty verdict.

Yolo County Public Defender Tracie Olson filed the motion Monday in Yolo Superior Court, calling on Judge David Rosenberg to grant a second trial or modify jurors’ September verdict to involuntary manslaughter.

Rosenberg delayed Green’s scheduled sentencing over the objection of prosecutors Tuesday, setting a Nov. 23 date for the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office to respond to the motion.

Rosenberg will rule Dec. 9 whether Green can be retried.

Green, in her jail-issued green-and-white uniform, conferred quietly with Olson at the Tuesday hearing, but showed little emotion. She remains held in county custody.

Olson, in her 33-page motion, reprised her argument at trial that methamphetamine-induced psychosis – not drug-fueled jealousy over Frank Rees, her former fiancé and father of her child – drove her to take newborn son Justice Rees into Ridge Cut Slough on Feb. 23, 2015.

Searchers recovered Justice on Feb. 25, 2015 – Green’s 24th birthday – in the slough’s woods near Knights Landing.

“The only reasonable explanation for Ms. Green’s actions in entering the slough is that she was acting in response to her methamphetamine intoxication,” Olson wrote, arguing that in her meth-deluded state, Green thought she was “fleeing with Justice, hiding from the world, to protect him from bodily harm.”

Green stayed for hours in the slough with her baby because she had “crashed” from the massive amounts of drugs Rees administered in the days before she headed to Knights Landing, Olson argued in the motion.

“She was in the slough because she was delusional. Plain and simple,” Olson wrote. “The reality is, Ms. Green was hiding from civilization because her delusions were controlling her decisions.”

Prosecutors at trial said Green, now 25, drove to Knights Landing with the baby to find Frank Rees after the couple argued in Woodland over a proposed meet-up for sex with a female friend.

Green parked her car in a Knights Landing cul-de-sac before wandering into Ridge Cut Slough with Justice. Prosecutors at trial argued that she remained for hours in the slough waiting for Rees to come find her and their baby.

“When Frank didn’t come for her, she stayed out in that slough until her baby was dead,” Deputy District Attorney Rob Gorman argued at trial.

The jury in September found Green guilty of second-degree murder in Justice’s death. The verdict in the packed Woodland courtroom came three days after the trial’s final image: a hobbling, shivering Green captured on a police cruiser’s dashboard camera after climbing out of Ridge Cut Slough howling in grief for her infant son.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith