Saturday, October 22, 2005
Man convicted in 'Antichrist' murder
Again, from YH:
PENSACOLA, Florida - A jury recommended a death sentence Friday for a man who testified he fatally shot a retired police sergeant because he believed the University of Alabama "A" on the victim's ball cap signified he was the Antichrist.
The same jury Thursday rejected a defense argument that Ryan Thomas Green, who has a history of mental illness, was insane when he killed James Hallman, 59, while he was taking a walk.
Jurors also convicted Green, 22, of first-degree murder, attempted murder for shooting a second man and robbery with a firearm.
Green remained expressionless, as he had been throughout his trial, as the 10-2 jury recommendation was announced, the Pensacola News Journal reported for Saturday editions.
Circuit Judge John Kuder did not set a sentencing date. He is not bound by the recommendation but must give it great weight. The only other option for first-degree murder is life in prison without parole.
Green testified that he had set out to take his own life but that a talking bull, religious signs, colors and symbols influenced him to shoot Hallman and housepainter Christopher Phipps, who must use a wheelchair.
"God put me there in that moment," Green told jurors. Hallman "thought he was the Antichrist, just like I believed I was the devil."
Green's trial was delayed more than a year after he was declared mentally incompetent. He later was found competent for trial after undergoing treatment. He also had received treatment at a mental-health facility before the shootings.
Phipps' mother, Debbie Phipps, said the verdict was a start on justice for the shootings.
"There's been a lot of discussion about the Bible" during the trial, Phipps said. "My Bible says an eye for an eye. He sentenced my son to life, and he killed Mr. Hallman. This is just."
Her son was shot at his home where Green stole his car and a gun. Green then shot a bull in a pasture before killing Hallman.
Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer argued Green was sane and shot Phipps because he wanted to steal his car and gun and Hallman because he didn't want any witnesses to the bull's shooting.
He then fled and hid the gun, indicating he knew what he did was wrong, Rimmer said.