MARCH 9, 2006 - Posted at 12:47 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man on death row for the murders of a family of four at Dalton. The majority in the 4-to-3 decision says the trial judge should not have let witnesses tell jurors about the man's reputation.
The ruling reverses the 2004 conviction of Billy Dale Green, who was convicted of four counts of capital murder and one count of kidnapping in the July 29, 1998 slayings.
Killed were 30-year-old Carl Allen Elliott; his wife 27-year-old Lisa; and their two children, eight-year-old Felicia and six-year-old Gregory.
Green has maintained his innocence and says his son commited the murders.
Six witnesses told jurors about a variety of bad acts, including a man's death, that were attributed to contact with Green. The court said that constituted a serious error and the remedy is to give Green a new trial.
Green's son, Charles Wayne "Chad" Green, was sentenced in 2004 to 40 years in prison for his role in the murders of a Dalton family of four.
In exchange for testimony against his father, Chad Green previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping. He also pleaded no contest in an unrelated case to two counts of raping a seven-year-old girl eight years before.