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Jury selection begins in Samantha Green murder trial

Samantha Green appears in Yolo Superior Court during a preliminary hearing in the death of her infant son on Monday, November 2, 2015, in Woodland.
Samantha Green appears in Yolo Superior Court during a preliminary hearing in the death of her infant son on Monday, November 2, 2015, in Woodland. rpench@sacbee.com

Jury selection began Monday in Woodland in the murder trial of Samantha Lee Green, accused in the February 2015 death of her infant son Justice Rees in a Knights Landing-area slough.

More than 200 potential jurors are expected to be interviewed Monday and Tuesday in Yolo Superior Court before Judge David Rosenberg for what the judge anticipated will be a weeks-long trial. Rosenberg at the pretrial hearing said he was hopeful that a jury would be empaneled by the end of the week.

Justice was 20 days old when a Knights Landing resident found a distraught Green on a levee road on Feb. 24, 2015, saying that she had been kidnapped. Authorities later learned that Green of Woodland and boyfriend Frank Rees had planned to meet a female friend in Knights Landing, but that Rees headed out alone after an argument with Green. Green, with baby Justice in tow, later left for Knights Landing.

The next day, Feb. 25, 2015, Justice, wearing a onesie, was found by searchers dead in heavy brush and trees. Investigators at a November preliminary hearing testified Green said she had passed out next to her child in the slough and that he was not responsive when Green awakened.

Green’s parents, Randy and Laurie Green, said in a previous statement that their daughter loved Justice “very much” and that she would never intentionally harm him.

“Our family is grieving not only for the loss of our grandson Justice, but also the possible loss of our daughter Sami Green. She has never been in trouble with the law. We know in our heart that Sami would never do anything to intentionally harm her newborn son Justice.

“She loved him very much. We can only hope for a fair and just trial in Sami’s case. Her entire family supports her through this most unbelievable time in our lives.

“Because of the tragic events that unfolded this past week, a huge part of our soul has been taken, and we will never be the same.”

Justice’s paternal grandmother, Patricia Rees, said previously that the baby was born with methamphetamine in his system. Child welfare workers had allowed Justice to go home with his parents after they tested free of drugs and agreed to a safety plan that involved Justice’s grandparents.

Frank Rees, the baby’s father, has a bench warrant for his arrest after he failed to appear at an Aug. 4 hearing in Yolo Superior Court.

He faced charges of possession of ammunition by a person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, possession of controlled substance; and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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