Trial begins for man accused of murder and rape

Sam Green (Source: Savannah-Chatham Metro Police)
Sam Green (Source: Savannah-Chatham Metro Police)

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A man accused of murdering one woman and attacking and raping another is in court this week. Sam Green's murder trial started Tuesday.

The jury selection started around 10 a.m. For four hours the state and his defense attorney questioned juror after juror. The lawyers asked the jurors a lot of personal questions, like if they or someone they knew had even been sexually assaulted. They also wanted to know what jurors thought about prostitutes, and if they had ever been a prostitute, or paid for a prostitute.

These questions are relevant, because the two women Green is acussed of raping, police believe were both prostitutes. Police say in June of 2007 Green murdered Candy Wright. Police found her body in a shed behind a vacant house off West 39th Lane.  She had been raped and strangled. In court Tuesday, Curtis White, a friend of Wright's, testified that Green was the last person to be with Wright that night. White told jurors that he ran into Green as he was leaving the shed.

White asked Green, "Where's Candy?" According to White, Green told him that she was asleep in the shed. Green then left, but when White went to check on Wright he found her dead.

The prosecution also showed jurors that there was no way White could have committed this crime. In 2006 he injured his arm and doesn't have much strength in it. They say it would have been impossible for White to strangle Wright.

But is there physical evidence linking Green to Wright. The prosecution says yes. Just three months after Wright's murder another woman was attacked. She too was raped and her attacker tried to strangler her. This victim survived. Police were able to get a DNA sample from the victim. They put it in a database, and had a match. It was Sam Green. Green's DNA was also found on Wright.

In opening statements the defense argues that Green did have sex with both women, but did not rape them. Instead, Green's defense is that he paid them to sleep to him. Green claims both women consented.

Now a jury made up of seven men and five women will have to decide whether Green is guilty or innocent.

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