NAACP Asks SBI To Investigate Person County Suicide
Posted December 29, 2003 5:30 a.m. EST
PERSON COUNTY, N.C. — NAACP chapters from three counties are getting involved in a suicide case in Person County. A medical examiner ruled 58-year-old Geneva Green's death a suicide after a full-body exam, but her family feels there is more to investigate.
The NAACP said it wants the truth about Green's death because her family does not think she shot herself.
"There has been so many unanswered questions," said Zelma Thornton, Green's sister.
Thornton said an autopsy was never performed on her sister's body, an extra shell casing was found at the scene and the bullet and gun were not tested for a match. Plus, Green's hands were not tested for gunpowder and the bullet that killed Green came from an old service gun used by her husband, a retired Person County deputy.
The NAACP now wants the State Bureau of Investigation to step in.
"Ms. Green deserves to have a fair and impartial investigation," said the Rev. Melvin Whitley, of the Durham County NAACP.
District Attorney Joel Brewer said he consulted with the SBI and decided nothing could be gained if they stepped in. Brewer and Person County Sheriff Dennis Oakley said the evidence collected points to a suicide. They said blood evidence at the scene matched the bullet with the gun.
As for the extra shell casing, Oakley said Green likely fired a test shot. He said he ordered an autopsy, but the state medical examiner did not do one.
"All an autopsy would be to establish any other medical problems she might have had," Brewer said.
Oakley said he expected the medical examiner to test Green's hands for gunpowder. He said in the future, his office will handle that test.
"We're going to have our own from now on," Oakley said.
The family's own private investigator sided with the investigators. Green's husband and son could not be reached for comment. Back in August, Green's sisters told WRAL that a funeral director said the bullet exited the right side of her head, not the left. Now Thornton said she is not sure who said that. The funeral home told WRAL it had no comment.