Produced by Gail Abbott Zimmerman and Doug Longhini
[This story first aired on May 30, 2015. It was updated on Aug. 19, 2017]
For more than 18 years, “48 Hours” has investigated what many say is a case of injustice. That case began in the early morning hours of April 4, 1989, when a young woman called 911 saying she thought her boyfriend had been shot. The problem was she was three miles away from the crime scene and she had trouble telling police how to get there.
“Something was not right,” said Mark Rixey, who at the time was a road patrol deputy for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. “Why would somebody say there’s something happening here and nothing’s there?”
“All we had was that he had been shot and that he was in the orange groves. I sent a deputy to pick her up because we absolutely, would never have found her … we’d have been there all night looking,” Diane Clarke, who was a patrol sergeant in Brevard County, told “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty.
“She remained in the vehicle out here and refused to walk down there,” said Rixey.
“‘You don’t wanna see him? You don’t wanna know his condition?’ …there was something wrong with this,” said Clarke.
The victim was 22-year-old Chip Flynn.
“It was a young white male … laying on his side with his hands bound behind his back,” said Rixey.
“He had a bullet wound, there was blood on the right side of his chest,” Clarke explained. “We have a gun on the ground that we don’t know who it belongs to.”
Flynn was conscious when the deputies arrived. “Speaking very clearly … he just said, “Get me outta here,'” said Rixey.
“‘Who shot you?'” Clarke said of asking Flynn. “‘Just take me home, God, get me out of here.'”
“‘Could you at least tell us which way he went,'” Rixey asked Flynn.
“‘Who did this to you?’ He wouldn’t tell us,” Clarke continued.
“This is so not typical. It defies explanation,” said Rixey.
Mark Rixey, who was a deputy sheriff with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, recalls the crime scene at a remote grove where shooting victim C…
Flynn died before the ambulance arrived.
The woman who called 911 was Flynn’s former girlfriend, Kim Hallock. She said she and Flynn had been in his truck when a black man with a gun hijacked and drove them to that remote grove. She alone managed to get back into the truck and escape — driving those three miles to Chip’s friend’s home.
“They needed someone to put that murder on and Crosley Green fit the bill,” said private investigator Joe Moura.
“It’s an example of race being a substitute for evidence,” said attorney Keith Harrison.
“I didn’t kill that young man,” Crosley Green told Moriarty.
Today, 26 years after Green was sentenced to death for the murder of Flynn, there is new compelling evidence that the wrong person may have been sent to prison and the killer is still free.
“The first rule of homicide investigation is … everybody who was at that scene is treated as a suspect until they’re eliminated,” said Rixey. “That’s not the way this happened.”
Washington D.C. attorneys Keith Harrison, Bob Rhoad and Jeane Thomas typically counsel an elite corporate clientele. But they are working for no pay at all to win freedom for 59-year old Crosley Green, incarcerated in Florida for almost 28 years.
“Crosley’s case is special. Because it cries out for justice,” Harrison told Erin Moriarty.
“You can’t stop thinking about what happened to this individual, the injustice that occurred,” said Rhoad.
“For me, I was offended. I was angry,” said Thomas.
“The main focus of the case was that there was a black guy who had done something, the old, ‘the black guy did it,'” said Harrison.
They accuse prosecutors of a rush to judgment in the murder of the young white man, Chip Flynn, found shot and dying in a remote Florida citrus grove in 1989. At the time, Chip had been living with his parents. They spoke with “48 Hours” in 1999.
“Rarely did you see him without a smile on his face, just rarely,” his mother, Peggy Flynn” told “48 Hours.”
The Flynns, now both deceased, told us they were shocked to learn that Chip had been with Kim Hallock that night. Kim was an ex-girlfriend and Chip was happily seeing someone else.
“That was all he talked about. He didn’t mention Kim anymore or anything,” Charles Flynn said of his son.
And Hallock’s story — that a man had robbed and hijacked them — seemed strange. Police recorded her statement just hours after the shooting:
Detective: When was the first time you saw Chip yesterday?
Kim Hallock: About 10 at night. He came to my house.
Hallock said it began in the local baseball field, Holder Park. They were sitting in his truck when she first saw someone walk by.
“I told Chip there was a black guy on your side and he rolled up the window real quick,” she told investigators in her statement.
Twenty minutes later, she says, Chip stepped out and she heard him say “hold on man.”
“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,” Hallock continued.
And then, she says she saw the man again:
Detective: Did you see that the black male was armed at that time?
Kim Hallock: Yes, I did.
She says the man tied Chip’s hands with a shoelace. Then, he ordered her to hand over money from Chip’s wallet. And then, with everyone in the truck, he drove them away — 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–somehow managed to get a hold of his gun hidden on the truck seat.
“Chip, his hands were behind his back, he leaned out of the truck and somehow shot at the guy and the guy stepped back. Chip jumped out of the truck, I jumped in the truck … and I heard about five or six gunshots,” she told investigators.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Kim Hallock hours after she says she and ex-boyfriend Charles “Chip” Flynn were abducted from a l…
She said she then drove those three miles to Chip’s friend’s home to call for help.
“Wouldn’t you stop at the first telephone that you came to, the first home that you came to, to call 911?” Rhoad asked.
Washington D.C. attorneys Bob Rhoad, Keith Harrison and Jeane Thomas are working to win freedom for Crosley Green.
Crosley Green’s current attorneys say a lot of Kim Hallock’s story simply doesn’t make sense.
“It’s bizarre — to be charitable,” said Thomas.
“Chip … with the gun in his hands tied behind his back … opens the door of the truck and propels himself out of the truck, shooting at the black guy,” Harrison said of Hallock’s story.
Still, police seemed to take Hallock at her word, even though parts of her story changed. And she couldn’t describe the assailant very well.
“I really didn’t get a real good look at him. I was really scared,” she told detectives.
The details she did give didn’t really match the man detectives had in mind: Crosley Green, a small-time drug dealer recently released from jail. But later that night, they showed Kim a photo lineup with six photos. Hallock chose photo No. 2 – Crosley Green.
“That’s a target with a bull’s-eye for Crosley Green. …His picture is smaller and darker than the other pictures,” Harrison said of the photo lineup. “Anybody involved in police investigation and prosecution knows this. …the position that your eyes are normally drawn to are right in the middle.”
“It’s a black spot,” Green said of the photo. “That’s what you focus on, that black spot.”
Crosley Green, better known as Papa, became the father figure for his large family after his parents died. He admits he was no angel, but he says he has never done anything violent. At the time Chip Flynn was killed, he says he was with friends around two miles away.
“I kidnapped no one. I killed no one. I did none a those things,” Green told Moriarty.
“The task at hand was finding a black guy to pin this on. And unfortunately for Crosley … that’s where their attention focused,” said Rhoad.
“So when a young white woman says, ‘A black man did it,’ nobody questioned it?” Moriarty asked Tim Curtis, a local body shop owner and friend of Chip’s.
“I don’t think nobody questioned that,” he replied.
Curtis also knew the Green family and helped spread the word: Crosley Green did it.
“…there was a lot of racial words bein’ used. ‘We’re gonna get him, we’re gonna get him. We’re gonna get him. We’re gonna get him.’ You know?” said Curtis.
Crosley Green was arrested and charged with kidnapping, robbery and murder. At trial, prosecutors pointed to what they said were the killer’s shoeprints found in Holder Park.
Footprints found at the crimescene
Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher White–now retired– told jurors that a police dog got the scent of those prints and tracked that scent to the vicinity of a house where Crosley Green sometimes stayed.
“You’ve seen those shoe impressions. It wasn’t just her and Chip out there,” White told Moriarty. “The shoe impressions were followed … from the site where the truck was parked … supporting what Kim said about there being a third person there, a black male, who abducted them and did these things.”
But White was never able to match those shoeprints to Crosley Green or anyone else. What’s more, not a single fingerprint of Green’s was found anywhere on the truck. And despite Kim Hallock’s claim that Chip had fired his gun trying to save her, no gunshot residue was found on Chip’s hands.
“She’s saying he fired the gun, and there be no gunshot residue left on his fingers? Is that possible?” Moriarty asked Harrison.
“It’s highly improbable,” he replied.
Still, prosecutors found three witnesses with criminal pasts who claimed Crosley had actually confessed to them — most damning, his own sister Sheila. Before the case went to the jury, Crosley Green was offered a deal: admit guilt and get no more than 22 years.
“So why didn’t you take it?” Moriarty asked Green in 1999.
“I didn’t kill that young man. I keep telling you I didn’t kill this young man, so why should I take that plea bargain?” he replied.
It took the all-white jury just three hours to convict Crosley Green; the judge sentenced him death.
“What’s it like being here on death row?” Moriarty asked Green.
“It’s hell,” he replied. “It’s hell to me because I’m here for a crime I didn’t commit.”
“Don’t kill this guy. He didn’t do it. He’s innocent,” said Joe Moura, who was a”48 Hours” consultant.
Back in 1999, Crosley Green spoke about the obvious inconsistencies in the case against him.
Crosley Green during a 1999 interview with “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty.
Kim Hallock had told police her assailant had long hair that covered his ears.
“Was any of your hair over your ears?” Moriarty asked Green, whose hair was cut short and above his ears.
“They way I look now is the way I looked then,” he replied.
When “48 Hours” first reported on the case, a team of private detectives from around the country who believed in Crosley Green’s innocence were working pro bono to prove it.
“It’s not every day do you see this kind of injustice,” said Moura.
Moura found it difficult to believe that Crosley had confessed to three people.
“So Crosley ends up shooting somebody. And he decides he’s gonna tell everybody in town, ‘Guess what, it was me.’ Not credible. It’s not credible at all,” he said.
So Moura tracked down those witnesses. Sheila Green told Moura that she had lied at trial. Even though she knew she could be dooming her brother, she said she had no choice.
Sheila Green talks with Erin Moriarty in 1999.
“Basically, they told me that this was my last chance to help myself, ’cause I was already convicted,” she told Moriarty in 1999.
At the time she testified, Sheila was facing sentencing on drug charges herself.
“What did they say would happen if you didn’t testify against your brother?” Moriarty asked Sheila.
“I would never see my kids again,” she replied.
And when Moura found the other two witnesses, they told him similar stories.
“Every witness recanted their story,” Moura explained. “And every one of them had reason to be afraid of the police. …They were squeezed. …And they were squeezed hard.”
With Crosley Green’s sister and his two friends recanting, the private detectives focused on crime scene evidence: notably, those shoeprints in Holder Park that prosecutors said corroborated Kim’s story.
Crosley Green’s last chance for freedom – CBS News