May 12, 2004--Posted at 10:50 p.m. CDT
POCAHONTAS, AR--Billy Green and his son Chad killed Carl Elliot and his family because Carl stole 10 thousand dollars worth of marijuana plants from him. That's what prosecutors will say in Thursday's opening statements at Green's multiple murder trial in Pocahontas.
Three days and 78 Randolph County residents later, a jury of Billy Green's peers is ready to hear the evidence against him, in the 1998 murders of Carl Allen Elliot, his wife, and two children. The jury is made up of 8 women and four men, plus two men and two women as alternates.
Late Wednesday, prosecutors, for the very first time, revealed crucial evidence and testimony that they hope Judge Harold Erwin will allow during the trial.
In open court Wednesday, prosecutors admitted they have no phyisical evidence to place Billy Green at the crime scene or show that he killed the Elliot family. What they have is circumstantial and testimonial.
During pretrial motions prosecutors revealed some of the testimony they hope jurors will get a chance to consider. The prosecution says Carl's sister, Kathy Hart, will testify that Carl told her two weeks before the murders, that he had confessed to Green that he and another man "had stolen ten marijuana plants from one of Green's fields in 1994."
Another witness could testify that Lisa Elliot told him she was "afraid" of the Greens and asked him if she could "borrow $10,000." And police will tesitfy that a single pot plant is valued at about $1,000. Prosecutors will connect those dots to show motive, if those statements are allowed.
Green's wife Mary says Billy left the night of the murders around 11:30 saying he "had to go and help Chad clean up a mess."
She will also say that Billy told her and others he and Chad committed the murders and they "shouldn't have killed them all." And he is said to have told his family "the best way to kill someone is to shoot them in the left eye." Carl Elliot was shot near the left eye.
Green's son, Chad, also charged with the murders took a plea deal and agreed to testify against his father. Chad is expected to put his dad at the scene of the crime, saying Billy "wrapped the little girl Felicia in a blanket and took her out of the house after she watched her mother and brother be beaten to death. And while she was being taken away, she sobbed, 'Please don't hurt me... Please don't hurt me.'"
Her remains were discovered several years later in a field near the Green's property.
Despite all the testimonial and circumstantial evidence, and the lack of any physical evidence, Prosocutor Henry Boyce says he is confident in the state's case.