Jury Selection Underway for Murder Trial Involving Infant
Samantha Green booking photo
YOLO COUNTY—On Monday, August 15, 2016, jury selection began for the murder trial of the Woodland woman who is accused in the death of her baby son in early 2015.
Approximately 200 potential jurors were interviewed on Monday and Tuesday this week in Yolo Superior Court for what may be a three to four-week trial.
Samantha Green, 24, is being accused of causing the death of Justice Rees, her 20-day old infant, after he was found dead in dense brush in Knights Landing on February 24, 2015. He was wearing only a onesie.
Green was found distraught on a Knights Landing levee by a local resident. She originally told authorities she had been kidnapped, but later testified that she had passed out next to her baby in the slough and that he was not responsive when she woke up.
Authorities later learned that Green and her boyfriend—Frank Rees—also the child’s father, had planned to meet a female friend in Knights Landing. The couple had an argument so Rees left alone to meet the woman. Green said she later went looking for Rees with the baby in tow.
Patricia Rees, the infant’s paternal grandmother, said Justice had been born with methamphetamine in his system. Child welfare workers did allow the baby to go home with Green and Rees after they tested free of drugs and agreed to a safety plan for Justice that included the grandparents.
Yolo Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg said he hoped a jury would be selected this week.
The trial was originally scheduled to take place last April but was postponed following a Yolo Superior Court hearing that saw prosecutors accusing Green’s defense attorneys of “last-minute shenanigans.”
The dispute stemmed from the defense’s disclosure that it planned on summoning an expert witness, UC Davis Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Soulier, to testify that Green was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis when she allegedly took Justice into a slough last year and left him out all night, which resulted in his death.
There is also a bench warrant for the arrest of Rees, who failed to appear in Yolo County Court on August 4, 2016.
Rees faces charges of possession of ammunition by a person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm; possession of a controlled substance; and possession of controlled paraphernalia.