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tv   Forensic Files  CNN  March 7, 2015 10:00pm-10:31pm PST

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a message possibly from reyna herself to howard elkins. it said, don't be mad. i told the truth. dianna green was just 20 years old and pregnant when she was brutally raped and beaten in her apartment. the assault caused the death of her unborn baby. when dianna came out of a coma three weeks later, she told police she knew the identity of her attacker, but was her memory accurate? in 1979, dianna green was in the first year of marriage to kevin green, a 21-year-old marine stationed at the el toro military base in tustin, california.
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on september 30th, 1979, dianna was nine months pregnant, and the baby was due any day. >> come on, what's the matter with you? >> that night, neighbors say they heard the couple engaged in a heated argument, just one of many in what was described as a volatile relationship. >> maybe if you didn't drink so much, i would. now leave me alone. >> at 1:30 in the morning, kevin green left the apartment for a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. when he returned a half hour later, kevin said his wife was bleeding from a gaping head wound and he phoned police. officer paul wright was the first to arrive at the scene. >> i didn't see anything obvious to me that was used to cause that type of an injury. at the time, i honestly believed she had been shot.
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that's how the injury looked to me. even this many years later, with the experience that i have, that's what i would have presumed, even today. dianna green had been raped, and her head wound was not caused by a gunshot, but by a severe blow to the head which exposed her brain. doctors weren't sure whether dianna or her unborn child would survive. >> i stood there holding her hand. the swelling on her head had started to get kind of bad. she was in pretty bad convulsions. i was trying to watch both heart monitors, the one for her and the one for the baby. >> despite their efforts, the doctors could not save the baby, a girl, who was later named chantel marie. dianna fell into a coma and for the next three weeks, doctors were not optimistic. >> her family had called in a priest. we were prepared for the worst, or preparing for it. >> dianna green's attack bore striking similarities to five
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other unsolved rape/murders in the area. all of the women had been beaten in the same way and murdered. the local press had dubbed the attacker "the bedroom basher." when police looked into kevin green's background, they discovered he had a criminal record and a history of alcohol and substance abuse. and witnesses say kevin green acted suspiciously after dianna's assault. >> he made certain comments that seemed highly inappropriate. he was even concerned that his wife was going to say it was him. >> after three weeks in a coma and brain surgery, dianna green regained consciousness. this is a police videotape of dianna discussing the attack. since her brain injury had affected her memory and ability to speak, there was little she could tell police about the assault.
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police thought they hit a dead end in their search for the bedroom basher, that is until something sparked dianna's memory.
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after a brutal rape and assault of dianna green in her apartment, police were immediately suspicious of her husband, kevin green. >> i work hard all day! >> neighbors told police they had heard the couple argue on the night of the assault. >> he had a history of assaulting her. he also had -- i don't want to characterize it as a drug problem -- but you know, he was using drugs back then. which of course, you add drugs to a temper and you can end up with problems. i think that's what was going on. >> previously, i had struck out at her. previously in losing an argument, yes. in not knowing how to handle the slamming doors and the things that are thrown and the words that hurt, i lashed out and slapped her and left bruises, you know, doing that.
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>> kevin green denied hitting his wife that night and said he had an alibi for the time of the assault. green said he left for hamburgers around 1:30 in the morning, but said he did not stop at the nearest jack in the box restaurant because it was crowded, driving instead to another that was 15 minutes away. >> so according to his alibi, he had this long period of time, a relatively long period of time, that he went to go to this jack in the box. >> and police were also suspicious since there was no evidence of a break-in at the greens' apartment and no evidence of robbery. dianna's recovery was slow. she had suffered a serious brain injury. she developed what is called aphasia, an inability to form words. she also suffered from retrograde amnesia. when a person receives a severe blow to the head, it can disrupt the chemical sequences that form memory.
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the condition can be temporary or permanent. dianna couldn't remember the attack or anything that happened immediately preceding the attack. >> the doctors had warned us, don't tell her. don't fill in those gaps. she's got to have the process of recovering this memory on her own. if you fill it in, then that's going to be her memory. >> after weeks in the hospital and still with great difficulty speaking, dianna was allowed to return home with her husband, kevin. but three months after the assault, something happened. as dianna and her mother were in the waiting room of a doctor's office, a series of pictures in a baby magazine triggered something she had forgotten. frantically she pointed to her stomach, apparently to indicate her pregnancy, and then she pointed to her wedding ring.
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her mother asked, are you trying to tell me kevin did this to you? dianna shook her head yes. >> she said it was her husband who attacked her. they had an argument over whether or not they would have sexual relations that night, that she declined to have them, and that he became enraged and attacked her and then he raped her and that he beat her. >> kevin green was arrested and charged with attempted murder, rape and second-degree murder in the death of his unborn child. the semen sample collected after dianna's assault could not be tested for dna since the tests did not exist in 1979. tests indicated the perpetrator had type "o" blood, the same blood type as kevin green. once more, dianna green said she and kevin did not have consensual sex on the night of the attack. kevin green said the two had consensual sex before he left
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the apartment before hamburgers. he also took a lie detector test to corroborate his story and passed. but with dianna green willing to testify that her husband was the perpetrator, it would be up to a jury to decide. why are you deleting these photos? because my teeth are yellow. why don't you use a whitening toothpaste? i'm afraid it's bad for my teeth. try crest 3d white. crest 3d white diamond strong toothpaste and rinse... ...gently whiten...
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in 1980, kevin green went on trial for rape, attempted murder, and for second-degree murder in the death of his unborn child. >> the least you can do is have a little bit of time -- >> dianna green testified that she and kevin had an argument. he wanted sex. she said no. dianna said kevin hit her, then left the bedroom. a few minutes later, she said kevin came back into the bedroom, then savagely beat and raped her. >> she was the chief witness against him, and that's not unusual in lots of types of criminal cases, to have there just be essentially one witness for the prosecution because of the nature of certain crimes and the way they occur. >> kevin green told the jury a different story.
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he said they had consensual sex, and later when he went out for hamburgers, he saw a dark skinned man lingering near his apartment. the man got into a black dodge van and drove away. >> when i pulled into the parking lot i noticed him reaching for the door to the van and had his head hidden by his arm that way. i thought that was kind of weird. but still, i didn't have any clue as to why he would be wanting to do that. >> but it was dianna green's powerful courtroom testimony that swayed the jury. >> the police believed her, the judge believed her, the prosecutor believed her, and 12 jurors believed her. and for us now to sit here and look back and say, boy, you guys, were you a bunch of lunatics? no. >> dianna green, the wife, was such a convincing witness and she was so strong in front of
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the jury and so adamant that this was the man that attacked her, that you had a very emotional trial and a very convincing witness. >> kevin green was found guilty of attempting to murder his wife and killing his unborn baby. he was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. >> at trial, all they really needed her to do was point her finger. she can't get it wrong in their head because she's identifying her husband. >> kevin green was sent to soledad prison, a maximum security institution that's home to the most violent offenders in the state of california. >> it is a mean place to be, and this was reality. i could not live in a fantasy of one day this will all get worked out. as i saw what happened around me to other people, to my case, to my family, i got mad. i got angry.
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i got thrown in the hole because five guys wanted to kill me one day because i was in prison for the death of a baby. >> kevin green was convinced that the man he saw standing outside his apartment on the night of the attack had something to do with his wife's assault, but he had no idea who he was and absolutely no way to prove his theory. time passed. kevin green spent eight long years in prison. all of his appeals were exhausted. soon he became eligible for parole, but there was a catch. kevin green would have to admit that he was guilty of the assault on his wife. he refused, even though it meant staying in prison. >> two years later i went back to the parole board again.
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>> and again, parole was denied. >> the only thing i could do to feel better was to die. >> in soledad prison, kevin green made an important decision. rather than admit to committing this crime, he would commit suicide. >> for some reason, i stopped and i said to myself, i said, god, i can't do this anymore. i need help. for me, that was me asking god for help. and i got calm. >> but kevin green would spend 16 years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit. until finally he got an answer to his prayers. (woman) the constipation and belly pain feel like a knot. how can i ease this pain?
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sergeant tom tarpley of the tustin, california, police department was assigned to investigate some unsolved murder cases with the idea that new dna testing could help solve some of the cases. he reopened the files of the so-called bedroom basher. the cases of five women who had
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been raped and murdered by an unknown assailant. tarpley's research uncovered the fact that one of the victims of the bedroom basher, deborah kennedy, was raped and murdered in the same neighborhood, in the same week and with the same m.o. as dianna green's attack. >> almost identical victims, identical locations, they're only seven or eight days apart. it's hard to not think that they're related. so i looked into the cases enough to where it bothered me that i felt the two cases were related. >> first, sergeant tarpley needed to find out whether all five cases were committed by the same individual, so tarpley sent all five semen samples for dna testing. scientists confirmed that all five unsolved rape/murders had been committed by the same individual.
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since 1994, dna samples from all individuals convicted of a sex offense in california were entered into a computer database. in an unbelievable stroke of luck, the dna from the so-called bedroom basher matched an inmate already serving time in a california prison. his name was gerald parker, imprisoned for the rape of a 14-year-old girl. when confronted with the dna evidence, gerald parker confessed to being the notorious bedroom basher. but sergeant tarpley didn't stop there. during his interrogation, tarpley asked parker if the name dianna green rang a bell. >> that's when i noticed a change in his whole manner. he seemed to take an interest. he knew a lot about the green case, which i thought was very unusual. he wasn't really talking about the other cases but he said that
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he had read about that case and he had followed it on the radio and he knew that a marine had been convicted of that case. and that kind of stuck in the back of my mind too. i noticed that got a rise out of him. i kept going after him. >> gerald parker had also been in the marines. after thinking a few minutes, parker told sergeant tarpley that there was something he needed to get off his chest, something that had been bothering him for 16 years. >> you could go out with me and my friends sometime. >> parker said he was outside the greens' apartment on september 30th, 1979, and heard the couple argue. after kevin green left for hamburgers, parker admitted that he entered the greens' apartment with a two by four through an unlocked door. and parker explained the mystery of why dianna green identified her husband as her attacker. when parker stood at the bedroom
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door, dianna green sat up with a look of recognition. she assumed it was her husband in the doorway and went back to sleep. parker described how he struck dianna green. gerald parker was the man kevin green saw outside his apartment on the night of the assault. >> parker was a marine, green was a marine. and there was that little marine corps bond. >> sergeant tarpley personally delivered the news of parker's confession to kevin green. >> for a moment, i was just overwhelmed. i actually slumped in my chair and tom has described it as i started crying. i don't remember that. it's possible. >> the semen sample from dianna green had not been kept refrigerated in the 16 years
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since the trial but it was sent for dna testing anyway. scientists used a process called pcr, which can analyze tiny bits of dna, even samples which are badly degraded. the semen recovered from dianna green matched gerald parker. ironically, the dna technology which exonerated kevin green had been available for 12 of the last 16 years of his incarceration. just hours after the dna test, kevin green was released from prison after 16 long years. >> oh, kevin. today, gerald parker sits on death row. dianna green lives in california is remarried.
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but still has residual neurological problems stemming from the attack. kevin green has remarried and living in missouri. he has dedicated his life to making sure inmates who claim innocence have access to post-conviction dna testing. >> i think it's an awful miscarriage of justice. but i can see how it happened. i can see how it happened and nobody did anything wrong. i don't think dianna green did anything wrong. i think she testified to what she believed was the truth. >> the bottom line came down to eyewitness testimony, the victim. eyewitness testimony isn't always right. and when you've got brain damage on top of it that nobody seemed to want to admit to, it resulted in a conviction. it was 16 years and three months before i was released. and i'd still be there today --
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today, innocent in prison, if the man who did the crime had not confessed and dna wasn't available to corroborate his confession. i'd still be there. in the backwoods of georgia, in a dilapidated house, a 49-year-old recluse named virginia ridley was found dead. a medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. but who would murder someone who seldom ventured out of her home? investigators found some clues in the note she had written shortly before her death. ringgold, georgia, is a small rural town located at the base of the blue ridge


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