By Maurice Tamman
Florida Today – September 2, 1999
Investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will review recent claims that death row inmate Crosley Green is not guilty of a 1989 slaying in Mims, officials confirmed Wednesday.
It will mark the first time in 10 years that law enforcement officials are actively investigating the fatal shooting of Charles “Chip” Flynn Jr.
A jury convicted Green, 41, of first-degree murder and kidnapping in 1991.
On Wednesday, Brevard-Seminole State Attorney Norm Wolfinger told Florida Today that he contacted the FDLE on Aug. 19, after private investigators met with prosecutors and told them they had evidence that four prosecution witnesses lied in their testimony against Green.
“I don’t see how they (prosecutors) had a choice,” said Chicago private investigator Paul Ciolino, who heads a four-man team investigating Green’s case. “It was the prudent and wise thing.”
Wolfinger said he made the request before any published reports raised questions about Green’s guilt.
“I believe in doing the right thing, but I don’t believe the investigation should be a media circus,” he said of his decision not to announce the FDLE’s involvement.
He said he asked for outside help to avoid any question of impropriety.
One of the prosecutors in the case, Phil Williams, now is Brevard County’s sheriff. The Sheriff’s Office investigated Flynn’s death. Also, Green’s trial attorney, Rob Parker, now is a prosecutor in Wolfinger’s Viera office.
Ciolino also claims that some witnesses told him they were pressured by sheriff’s agents and prosecutors to implicate Green in Flynn’s death.
“Why would we send our investigators to talk to the same people who (now) say they were forced to testify?” Wolfinger asked.
FDLE spokeswoman Liz Hirst said the case will be handled by the executive investigation unit, which typically is used to examine cases against police departments and public or elected officials.
Green was convicted largely on the testimony of four witnesses. The most important of them was Kim Hallock, who was with Flynn during the attack.
During the trial, she identified Green as the man who kidnapped her and Flynn from Holder Park, stole Flynn’s truck and drove them to the orange grove where Flynn was shot once in the chest.
She picked out Green from a photo lineup two days after the shooting, even though her initial description of the attacker differed from Green’s appearance.
Hallock could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
During the trial, three other witnesses – including Green’s sister, Sheila Green – testified that he had implicated himself in Flynn’s slaying. All three now say they lied, Ciolino said.
There was no physical evidence, such as a murder weapon or fingerprints, to link Green to Flynn’s death. The only fingerprints in the truck were those of Hallock and Flynn’s best friend, David Stroup.
According to Ciolino, in addition to the recanted testimony, a fourth prosecution witness, Tim Curtis, now says he helped investigators target Green even though he didn’t have any knowledge of Green’s involvement.
Curtis also says he knows one of the jurors was ready to convict Green before testimony had ended and lied about it to the trial judge.
In addition, Ciolino says Green has an alibi at the time of the slaying.
Florida Today independently has verified some elements of Ciolino’s claims, including the recanted testimony of three of the four witnesses.
But alibi witnesses identified by Ciolino could not account for all of Green’s time the night of the slaying.
PI happy about inquiry
Ciolino said Wolfinger’s request to the FDLE means local officials are taking his investigation seriously.
“We will be cooperating willingly with (FDLE) with their investigation,” he said. “This is the best news that Crosley Green could have right now.”
He refused, however, to say whether he had been contacted by anyone with the FDLE or how he will share the information he has collected during two recent trips to Brevard.
He said he expects the FDLE inquiry will result in Green’s release from prison. Green still has numerous appeals before he would be put to death.
“I want this guy out of (prison),” Ciolino said. “He deserves to be a free man, and I want it now.
“Realistically, though, these cases never move at warp speed … and I would be happy if it was finished by this Christmas… I can’t think of a better Christmas present.”
Wolfinger said he, too, hopes the recent publicity accelerates the appeal process.
Green has had at least five attorneys. Wolfinger said they have not dealt with the “substantive” issues that Ciolino is raising.
“We haven’t heard anything that (proves) that Mr. Green is innocent..,” he said.
Whatever is uncovered by the FDLE investigators, it is Green’s attorneys who must bring the information before a judge.
John Moser, who heads the state-funded agency that represents Green and most death row inmates in Central Florida, said the FDLE’s involvement is good news for Green, though his office has not seen any of the information Ciolino and others have collected.
It is unclear whether Moser’s office will represent Green in the future.
“To the degree that it goes to the very heart of the case, it’s a very good sign and highly unusual,” he said.
The recent publicity, however, has angered Flynn’s family.
“They got the right guy already, and he should have been fried a long time ago,” said Charles Flynn Sr., the victim’s father. “He had a good trial, and (the judge) was very careful to make sure it was fair.”
Flynn said he has faith in Sheriff Williams and Assistant State Attorney Chris White, both of whom prosecuted the case.