Samantha Green booking photo, and image of her and the baby from the “Samantha Green and her baby are missing” Facebook page.
SACRAMENTO—Samantha Green, the mother of the infant found dead in a remote area in Knights Landing earlier this year, will stand trial for second-degree murder.
Following four days of testimony at her preliminary hearing in Woodland, a Yolo County Superior Court judge decided last week that Green, 25, will stand trial on suspicion of second-degree murder and felony child endangerment in the death of her 19-day-old son, who was found February 25 in a murky slough near Knights Landing.
During the court hearing on Thursday, November 5, photographs were shown of where baby Justice Rees’ life ended: first, a murky slough, heavy with overgrown trees, thickets and brush. Then another, taken from deep in the brush, where his lifeless body lay, clad in a onesie and a diaper.
Green’s attornies argued that their client was drug-addled and disoriented, and had no intent of killing her infant son.
“There is no evidence of any physical infliction of harm. What we have here is an act of involuntary manslaughter, no more, no less,” said Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Dave Muller. He said Green fought through heavy brush and swam across the slough to find help for her son.
Prosecutors argued that Green put her child in harm’s way and these actions merit a murder charge.
“He was crying all night, communicating to her, ‘Help me. I’m cold,’ ” said prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens. “She had no business out there in the first place. She left him out there in the mud.”
Added Judge David Rosenberg. “This case is about a vulnerable, defenseless 19-day-old baby. [Green] violated the basic responsibility of a parent.”
According to testimony, Green and her fiancé, Frank Rees, who is the baby’s father, argued at a Woodland gas station on February 24 about meeting an acquaintance of Rees’ for sex. Green did not want to meet the woman, so Rees left alone for Knights Landing. Green returned to their Woodland home, picked up Justice and baby formula, and then headed to Knights Landing to search for Rees.
Green had told police last February that she looked for Rees on a street where she believed he was going to meet the woman. She said she then went to the levee out of jealousy, frustrated that Rees didn’t try to find her.
Green will be arraigned for trial on November 20.