Trial begins for Rotterdam man charged with murder of adopted child – The Daily Gazette
SCHENECTADY — The murder trial of a Rotterdam man accused of abusing two children in his care and killing one of the boys by stepping on their chests, causing serious internal injuries, began on Wednesday.
Dequan Greene, 28, from Rotterdam faces a host of charges in connection with the death of Charlie Garay, 4, on December 20, 2020, and the mistreatment of his older brother, including second degree murder , first degree manslaughter, second degree assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Prosecutors in opening statements said Greene killed Garay by stepping on his chest, severely lacerating the boy’s liver and causing other internal injuries that would have killed the child within minutes, then fabricated a story explaining why the boy stopped breathing while first responders worked. to save his life.
Resuscitation efforts continued after the child was transported from Greene’s Broadway home to Ellis Hospital, where he was ultimately pronounced dead. Blunt trauma was later determined to be the cause of death.
“These are catastrophic injuries. Injuries that killed him quickly,” Assistant District Attorney Christina Tremante-Pelham said.
Garay and his older brother, who was 5 at the time of the incident, were placed in the care of Greene and his wife, Latrisha, in September 2020 after being removed from their biological parents’ home by the protective services of the Albany County childhood. The couple, who were caring for three children at the time, were certified foster parents.
Tremante-Pelham said the foster home was meant to be a safe haven for the children, but said Greene abused the boys and ultimately killed the youngest sibling. The allegations, she says, will be proven by testimony from first responders, doctors, eyewitnesses and the medical examiner. who performed the autopsy.
She added that there is also physical evidence, including photographs, which will show bruises all over the children’s bodies, as well as testimony from Garay’s older brother, who suffered similar injuries.
“The kids didn’t know much, and the social workers who put them there didn’t know it wasn’t a respite home, it was a house of horrors,” Tremante-Pelham said.
But James Tyner, a lawyer for Greene, said his client was not responsible for Garay’s death and had tried to save the child’s life using CPR and was very concerned about the condition. of the child as first responders attempted to save his life. which are not indicative of a murderer.
He added that the adoptive brothers had suffered abuse before coming into the care of the Greenes and were therefore at times difficult to deal with, requiring discipline in order to ensure their “proper upbringing”.
Tyner said he plans to present evidence that will show Garay’s internal injuries were caused by first responders trying to save the child’s life. He did not mention a potential cause for why the child stopped breathing, saying only that the circumstances were “tragic”.
“That severed liver was the result, however well-intentioned, of the poor execution of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver,” Tyner said.
Greene told police Garay became unresponsive after falling from a chair and called his wife, who was out shopping during the incident, instead of dialing 911. Latrisha Greene told her husband alert the authorities and begin administering CPR.
It was Latisha Greene who finally called 911 after arriving home. She was initially charged with tampering with evidence, but those charges have since been dismissed.
The case has raised questions about whether authorities have ignored warning signs of abuse and whether enough has been done to protect children.
A lawsuit filed in Albany County Supreme Court last year by attorney Lorraine R. Silverman, the court-appointed guardian for older brother Garay and the estate of Charlie Garay, claims that child protective services in Albany and Schenectady counties missed repeated opportunities. to move the children.
The lawsuit claims that several employees involved in the case failed to take appropriate steps to “interview and assess ‘the two children’ alone in an appropriate context, and take appropriate steps to determine whether (the children) were being abused and beaten”.
On Wednesday, Tremante-Pelham said social workers were unable to assess the children for a month, between November 16, 2020 and December 16, 2020, after the family took a trip with the foster children. and canceled appointments in the weeks that followed. due to COVID-19 quarantines necessitated by travel and concerns about virus infection.
Authorities were finally able to see the children in person on December 16, 2020, four days before Garay’s death, but the children were wearing long-sleeved tracksuits that covered their arms and legs, according to Tremante-Pelham, who added n There were no signs of abuse at the time.
She added that Garay’s injuries were similar to those that could be sustained in a car accident and would have resulted in death within minutes, and that Daquan Greene’s explanation of what happened does not match the facts. , which she says shows he showed no concern for Garay, even as first responders worked frantically to save the boy.
“Most people that night did everything they could to save him,” Tremante-Pelham said.
Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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