Crosley Green, imprisoned for 31 years, says he’s the victim of a racial hoax

Did a young white woman cause a wrongful conviction by blaming a murder on a “black guy”?

A Florida man remains behind bars, nearly two years after his murder conviction was overturned. Crosley Green has been in prison for more than three decades for a crime he says he did not commit. He was convicted in 1990 of killing a 22-year-old Florida man largely on the testimony of the man’s ex-girlfriend. There was no physical evidence tying Green to the case.

“I actually think it’s a tragedy that he remains in prison,” says Green’s attorney, Keith Harrison.

So, why is Green still behind bars? “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty has followed this case for more than 20 years and shares new details in Green’s fight for his freedom.

THE NIGHT CHIP FLYNN DIED
Nearly two years have passed since Green’s murder conviction was overturned, and yet he remains in a Florida prison because the state is appealing the federal court’s decision.

Keith Harrison | Defense attorney: We’ve made every legal effort to get him released.

Jeane Thomas | Defense attorney: The state’s job is not to uphold convictions. … The state’s job is to seek the truth and to seek justice.

Washington D.C. attorneys Keith Harrison and Jeane Thomas typically counsel an elite corporate clientele, but they’re working for no pay at all for Green, trying to win his freedom after 31 years of incarceration.

Keith Harrison: The evidence that Crosley Green is innocent is literally overwhelming.

They accuse prosecutors of using faulty evidence and pressuring witnesses to secure the conviction of their client for the murder of 22-year-old Charles Flynn, better known as Chip. Flynn was found shot in a Florida citrus grove in 1989. He had been with his ex-girlfriend Kim Hallock that night.

Hallock told investigators that they had been robbed and hijacked by a man in Holder Park as they sat in Chip’s truck a little after 11 p.m.

KIM HALLOCK TO DETECTIVES

: I told Chip “there’s a black guy on your side” and he rolled up the window real quick.

Twenty minutes later, Hallock says, Chip stepped out of the truck and she heard him say “Hold on, man.”

DETECTIVE: Did you see that the – the black male was armed at that time?

KIM HALLOCK: Yes, I did.

KIM HALLOCK: Chip had a gun in his glove box. I took the gun out of the glove box and stuck it under some jeans that were next to me.

She says the man tied Chip’s hands with a shoelace, ordered her to hand over money from Chip’s wallet, and then with everyone in this truck, she says the assailant drove them to the orange grove steering, shifting gears, and somehow holding a gun on them all at the same time.

Kim Hallock told police that when they got to the grove, the man yanked her out of the truck and then Chip — his hands still tied behind his back—somehow managed to get a hold of his gun that Kim had hidden on the truck seat.

KIM HALLOCK

: He leaned out of the truck and somehow shot at the guy and the guy stepped back, Chip dove out of the truck, I jumped in the truck … and I heard about five or six gun shots.

She said she then drove to a friend’s home for help. Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Rixey and Sgt. Diane Clarke were the first two officers on the scene.

Erin Moriarty: Kim Hallock says that this assailant took both Chip and Kim to this citrus grove at 12:10. And yet, you’re not dispatched til 1:13.

Diane Clarke | Retired Brevard County sergeant: It’s over an hour.

Keith Harrison: There is approximately an hour that is missing and unexplained.

Erin Moriarty: How crucial was that time that night?

Mark Rixey | Former Brevard County deputy: Matter of life and death.

Diane Clarke: Why is she not stopping some place and making that phone call?

Erin Moriarty: Where could she have called?

Diane Clarke [points to map]: Right here.

Mark Rixey [points to map]: From a payphone … I think there was three along the way. … A convenience store, convenience store. And the hospital is right there.

The directions Hallock gave were so vague that even after Clarke and Rixey were dispatched, it took another 30 minutes to find Chip.

Mark Rixey [points to map]: I get the call at 1:13. I respond to this area. There’s nothing there. … Had to notify my dispatch … get better directions. … I drive to this new area here, where they informed me to go. Again, there’s nothing there.

Erin Moriarty: Why then were you first sent to the wrong location?

Mark Rixey: That’s a good question, one we’ve been asking ourselves for 30 years.

Diane Clarke: Thirty years, ’cause she didn’t tell us where to go. She gave the wrong direction.

Sgt. Clarke ended up sending another deputy to pick up Hallock so she could better guide them.

Diane Clarke: She wouldn’t get out the car.

Mark Rixey: We say “Can you show us where? Nope. Not going down there”

Erin Moriarty: What did that say to you, what did you think?

Diane Clarke: There’s something wrong … something is not ringing true … I would want to know, “Is he OK?”

They found Chip laying on his stomach with his hands tied behind his back, bleeding from a single gunshot wound to his chest.

Diane Clarke: He was in pain, but … I seriously thought he’d be OK.

Mark Rixey: First words out of his mouth were “Get me outta here. I wanna go home.”

Erin Moriarty: Did he mention anything about an assailant?

Mark Rixey: Nope.

Erin Moriarty: Did he mention anything about being robbed.

Diane Clarke: No.

Erin Moriarty: Did he mention anything about being kidnapped?

Clarke and Rixey: No.

Mark Rixey: I’m thinking, “what’s going on here?”

Diane Clarke: My feeling about it at the time and still is … that he was protecting her.

Chip Flynn stopped breathing twice as they waited for an ambulance. Sgt. Clarke tried to save his life.

Diane Clarke: He didn’t have to die.

Charles Flynn: There wasn’t anything he didn’t like to do.

Chip’s parents Charles and Peggy Flynn, now both deceased, rushed to the orange grove when they got the word Chip had been hurt. But police wouldn’t let them near the scene.

Peggy Flynn: I should have been able to go back to see him.

The Flynns, who spoke with “48 Hours” in 1999, were shocked to learn that Chip had been with Kim Hallock that night. Chip had a new girlfriend.

Charles Flynn: That was all he talked about. He didn’t mention Kim anymore or anything.

Chip’s parents said Kim had become too possessive and overbearing.

Charles Flynn: Chip liked his freedom. And she wanted him to be with her all the time.

Hallock was upset about the breakup, according to Chip’s friend David Stroup, who also spoke with “48 Hours” in 1999.

David Stroup: I do remember that he just — that she didn’t want to let go.

And it was Stroup’s home where Kim Hallock went for help.

David Stroup: I wondered why she came to my place, as opposed to just stopping at the first potential telephone … you know, even a home with a light on or anything if it, you know … So, it’s always bothered me.

Kim Hallock was not and has never been a suspect. Homicide detectives from Brevard County Sheriff’s Office seemed to take her at her word, despite her delay in calling for help and her inability to describe the assailant very well.

KIM HALLOCK

: I really didn’t even get a real good look at him. I was really scared.

Investigators claimed that almost immediately they got a tip that a small-time drug dealer, Crosley Green, was involved. He had recently been released from jail.

Diane Clarke: The description that she had given for the sketch didn’t match him.

They showed Hallock a photo lineup, and Kim chose #2, Crosley Green.

Keith Harrison: … his picture is smaller and darker than any of the other pictures. And it’s right in, you know, what is often referred to as the bullseye point of a photo array.

Crosley Green admits he was no angel, but he had no history of violent crime.

Diane Clarke: I think he was just an easy pick. … “We’re gonna put somebody in jail for this.”

Green was arrested and charged with kidnapping robbery and murder despite no direct evidence linking him to Chip’s shooting.

Keith Harrison: … there were no fingerprints of Crosley Green or any third person on the truck … Not one single fingerprint.