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Officers’ Murder Cases Go to Jurors

August 14, 1993

DETROIT (AP) _ Jurors began weighing the fate of two former police officers accused of fatally beating a motorist after a prosecutor mocked testimony that neither officer struck the man.

Ex-officer Walter Budzyn had testified during the 11-week trial that he never hit Malice Green nor did he see his former partner raise a hand.

″Aliens must have beaten Malice Green, or he beat himself,″ Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Kym Worth said in closing arguments Friday.

A second jury deciding the case against Larry Nevers, Budzyn’s ex-partner, also began deliberating Friday.

Deliberations were to resume this morning.

Defense lawyer Michael Batchelor said it was prosecution eyewitnesses whose testimony was unbelievable. Green’s friends all told different stories about what they saw the night of Nov. 5 as they watched from the street.

Most of the witnesses said they saw Budzyn strike Green in the hands with a police flashlight, but some said they also saw Budzyn hit Green in the head area.

″Ms. Worthy doesn’t want you to think about that,″ Batchelor said. ″She calls these things, ‘So what’s.’ These are not ‘So what’s.’ This is called credibility.″

Budzyn and Nevers are charged with second-degree murder in Green’s bludgeoning death outside an inner-city crack house. The official autopsy showed he died of at least 14 blows to the head. Defense experts testified cocaine and alcohol contributed to his death.

A request by Budzyn’s jury for transcripts of witnesses’ testimony was rejected. Nevers’ jury made no requests Friday.

If convicted of second-degree murder, the officers could face life in prison. If jurors convict them of lesser charges of manslaughter, they could face up to 15 years each.

A third fired officer, Robert Lessnau, is charged with felony assault in the Nov. 5 death. Recorder’s Court Judge George W. Crockett III is to decide his case after hearing closing arguments Monday. Lessnau could face 10 years in prison if convicted.

All verdicts will be announced at the same time, said Court Administrator George Gish. If either jury reaches a decision before Monday, the verdict will be sealed.

The three officers are white. Green was black. No testimony has indicated race was a factor in the beating.

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