Father next in line for trial after charges aired in death of days-old Justice Rees
Yolo County prosecutors will file a new drug charge against Frank Tallieson Rees in connection with the death of his infant son two years ago, said district attorney’s officials.
Prosecutors allege Rees, 31, administered methamphetamine to a different person on the same date that former fiancée Samantha Lee Green disappeared with their days-old son, Justice Rees, in February 2015, said Ryan Couzens, prosecuting Yolo County deputy district attorney.
Green’s attorney objects to the release of confidential psychiatric records and jail communiqués, along with a cell phone video purportedly taken of an unaware Green by Rees, to prosecutors. Rees’ counsel objects that private records that were off limits at Green’s trial should remain so in Rees’ case.
Green is serving 15 years to life in state prison for second-degree murder in their child’s February 2015 death.
Rees remains held in Yolo County custody ahead of a scheduled April 12 preliminary hearing.
“The release of many of these documents will infringe upon (Green’s) personal privacy and dignity,” Yolo County Deputy Public Defender David Muller wrote in his March 17 objection, adding that much of the material “adds nothing to the People’s case against Frank Talesin (sic) Rees” and that any release of documents violates therapist-patient privilege.
Muller called the debate over Green’s records a “hotly debated topic” during her proceedings, arguing Green’s judge had blocked prosecutors from receiving mental health records until her attorneys brought up her mental state at trial.
“In the prosecution of … Rees, the people cannot place her mental state at issue so her privilege remains intact,” Muller wrote.
Prosecutors had not yet formally filed the new charge at Rees’ scheduled Thursday morning appearance before Yolo Superior Court Judge Paul Richardson, but did receive records of phone calls Green made while in Yolo County custody along with letters Green wrote while in jail over the objections filed mid-month by Muller, Couzens said.
Prosecutors turned their focus to Rees in late February two years after Justice’s death, charging him with involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment in connection with the death along with felony administering of a controlled substance for allegedly injecting Green with massive doses of methamphetamine in the days before Green’s fateful journey with Justice into Ridge Cut Slough near Knights Landing.
Searchers found Justice’s body in Ridge Cut Slough near Knights Landing on Feb. 25, 2015, a day after a sobbing Green emerged from the depths of a meth-fueled bender and the chilly slough frantically telling a neighbor that her baby was missing and probably dead. Justice Rees was 19 days old.
Green had packed her child into her car for the drive from Woodland to Knights Landing, then carried her baby into the slough Feb. 23, 2015, in an ill-fated attempt to find Rees.
Green was enraged with Rees for broaching a ménage a trois with her and a female friend in Knights Landing, then leaving to meet the other woman, prosecutors said at Green’s murder trial last September.