A Black man incarcerated for more than 30 years for a crime he says he didn't commit has been released from prison nearly three years after his conviction was overturned. Crosley Green was convicted in 1990 of killing a 22-year-old Florida man — though there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
On Tuesday, federal Judge Roy B. Dalton granted a motion from Green's attorneys asking for his immediate release, citing the coronavirus pandemic, health issues and the reversal of his conviction. Green's attorneys said he is at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19 because of his age, a recent exposure to tuberculosis for which he is undergoing treatment and his other health issues.
Crosley Green spent more than 30 years behind bars for a crime he says he didn't commit. Though there was no physical evidence linking him to the murder, he was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to death. This is the moment he was finally released. pic.twitter.com/lpT8uTnjtP
— 48 Hours (@48hours) April 8, 2021
The state of Florida has opposed Green's release. After Dalton overturned Green's conviction in 2018, ruling prosecutors withheld evidence from defense attorneys at his initial trial, the state appealed the decision. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has not made a decision in the case, which has kept Green in prison until now.
In denying the state's request to keep Green, 63, incarcerated, Dalton cited the pandemic and the length of time Green has remained in prison. Dalton also noted that Green has been described as a "model prisoner" by the warden of the Calhoun Correctional Institution, where he was incarcerated.
"Additionally, the public has a strong interest in the release of a prisoner whom the Court has found to be incarcerated in violation of the Constitution," Dalton wrote, adding that Green "poses no danger to public safety."
Green will stay with a family member and will be on house arrest pending the outcome of the appeal, Dalton said.
Green's attorneys, Keith Harrison and Jeane Thomas,of using faulty evidence and pressuring witnesses when prosecuting the murder of Charles "Chip" Flynn, who was found shot in a Florida citrus grove in 1989.
Flynn's ex-girlfriend, Kim Hallock, had been with him that night, and told investigators they had been robbed and Flynn's truck was hijacked as they sat in the vehicle late at night. Hallock told investigators the suspect was a Black man, but some investigators said her story didn't add up.
Flynn's family and friends told "48 Hours" in 1999 that Flynn had a new girlfriend and Hallock was upset about the breakup. Hallock, who has never been a suspect in the death, picked Green, who had recently been released from jail, out of a photo lineup.
Green was arrested and charged with kidnapping, robbery and murder, though there was no direct evidence linking him to the shooting. Green said he was at a party at the time of the murder.
In 1990, he was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to death.
"48 Hours" spoke with Green in April 2020, while he waited for a decision on the appeal. When asked how he felt about the possibility of release, Green said, "It's unbelievable. It's unbelievable. ... I'm just hopin' and prayin' that day comes soon."