Family Of Convicted Teen Seek Review Of Life Sentence
Posted June 21, 2006 8:21 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Andre Green was a 13-year-old boy when he was sentenced in 1994 to life in prison for beating and raping his neighbor, a 22-year-old woman with a baby.
Today, he is a man who celebrated his 25th birthday behind bars last Friday with no hope of freedom. He was sentenced to life plus 15-years.
"It broke my heart, that's my baby -- he was my baby," said Green's mother, Carolyn McCoy.
Carolyn McCoy and Green's stepfather, Larry McCoy, are now holding fundraisers so they can retain an attorney to appeal the case. They estimate it will cost at least $15,000 to try the case.
Green's family not only thinks he is innocent, but thinks even if he were guilty, the sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Narley Cashwell was overly harsh given the crime and his age.
Just prior to Green's arrest, the General Assembly changed the law to allow the courts to try some 13-year-olds as adults.
"People are killing each other every day, and they don't get that much time," Carolyn McCoy said.
Ultimately, it is up to a judge whether a 13-year-old can be tried as an adult. Green was the first of his age tried in North Carolina and was also the last.
Prosecutors say the law is applied on a case-by-case basis and should be used only in the most heinous cases.
"The facts of this case were so vicious the district court judge allowed me to try the case in adult court," said Assistant District Attorney Frank Jackson, who tried the case.
Jackson said Green was no ordinary 13-year-old, already an imposing 6 feet tall. And the crime, Jackson said, was no ordinary crime, but brutal -- an adult crime.
Jackson said the victim positively identified Green and that he had no doubts about the fact that justice was served in this case.
"I think the jury made the right decision," Jackson said.
But the McCoys said they disagree.
"I'm hurt, very hurt about this. He has lost his childhood," said Green's mother.