Inmate seeks new trial after witness recants

May 25, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The key witness in the trial of Yarmo Green has recanted her testimony. That witness claims police paid her to lie about Green who was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Green was a football star at Mather High School. In 1995, he was convicted of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery.

If not for the conviction, Green was on his way to college to play football. Instead, he has served 15 years for attempted murder.

Now, his family and the key witness in the case want him to be exonerated.

Hellen Boatner is one of those moms who went to every football game. Piles of memorabilia are evidence of a devoted mother witnessing her son's rise to football stand-out at Mather High School. Since an incident that extinguished that rise in 1994, Boatner doesn't miss a court date trying to vindicate her son.

"He had 14 years and a few months taken away from him. But then he still can go on with his life, do something positive," said Boatner.

Green was convicted and sentenced for the attempted murder of Alfonso Briseno. The beating occurred in the 2500-block of North Washtenaw. A 14-year-old girl who had just had a child was the state's key witness. Her name is Adelaide. She does not want to reveal her last name.

"I couldn't live with it. I basically wanted everyone to know it was a lie, that he didn't do it," said Adelaide.

A runaway and in trouble with law, Adelaide says she had no choice because she says authorities threatened to take her child away if she didn't testify against Green.

"The state's attorney threatened me. They also paid me and they paid me money right after I testified," said Adelaide. "When we went outside and this trial was done the police handed me money and said, 'good job,' for doing what I did.'"

Green was sentenced to 40 years in prison. But Adelaide says he didn't do it.

"Yarmo was not in the building. He was out there the whole time with me smoking a cigarette," said Adelaide.

Adelaide says she tried to contact the states attorney back in 2002, but she said they weren't interested in her story.

Now, there is a group called the exoneration project working to win Green's release.

"She was the only person that said that she saw Yarmo hit the victim. There was no other evidence presented on thatl against him," said Liz Wang, Exoneration Project attorney."It says some pretty horrible things about what some of the police officers that were involved in this case did and perhaps what some of the prosecutors did as well. But I think that absolutely she is telling the truth."

Green's mother doesn't give into to emotion, at least in front of this stranger. She is steadfast in her hope that the young man who was once courted by universities for his football and academic excellence will be able to restart his life outside of prison some day.

"I would like for him to get out and go on to pursue his schooling and do something with his life, do something positive and help the other kids," said Boatner.

A motion has been filed to get a new hearing for Green. In the meantime, the state has filed a response denying any witness was intimidated.

Green's attorney hopes to get a new hearing in a few months.

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