Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs / Sun Staff Writer

Students watch in horror moments after two Ithaca College students were stabbed at Cornell on Aug. 28

February 2, 2017

Police Played ‘Mind Games’ With Cornell Murder Suspect, Lawyers Say

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Three days after the double-stabbing on Cornell’s campus in August that left one Ithaca College student dead and another injured, police interviewed Nagee Green during his shift at Subway in Collegetown.

When police arrested Green, 23, about 10 weeks later on Nov. 7, investigators grilled him for hours about his alleged involvement in the death of Anthony Nazaire and the stab wounds suffered by Rahiem Williams, both of Brooklyn.

Green ultimately said he remembered stabbing both men, according to a transcript produced by his lawyers, but his attorneys claim in a motion to suppress Green’s statements that investigators “engaged in psychological mind games” during the interrogation and that the confession came “after more than three hours of outright lies, exaggerations, false statements and persistent pseudo-logical argumentations engaged in by their trained and experienced interrogators.”

A grand jury indicted Green in November on charges of murder in the second degree, a class A-1 felony; manslaughter in the first degree, a class B felony; and assault in the second degree, a class D felony. He is accused of stabbing Williams three times in the back and murdering Nazaire by stabbing him in the chest.

In the motion filed by defense attorney Michael Perehinec Jr. in Tompkins County Court on Jan. 20, he requested a hearing to determine the admissibility of Green’s confession, alleging that police lied to Green, that his statements were taken without the presence of an attorney and that Green was not adequately advised of his Miranda rights.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said the claim from Green’s attorneys that the interrogation process was flawed is a “hyperbolic untruth,” The Ithaca Voice reported, citing court documents.

The defense motion also included a 73-page transcript of the police interrogation of Green at the New York State Police Barracks in Freeville, transcribed by a paralegal working in the office of Joseph Joch, one of Green’s lawyers.

During the interrogation, Investigator Kevin McKenna of the Ithaca Police Department and Senior Investigator Richard Haas of New York State Police described their version of events based on, they said, video evidence and witness testimony.

The investigators claimed that at least one video shows Green squaring off with a man in the street near the intersection of College Avenue and Campus Road. They said Green pulled a knife out of his pocket, flicked the blade open and, after swinging the knife at the man, the two disengage.

Nagee Green, 23, has been charged with murder in the second degree

Ithaca Police Department

Nagee Green, 23, has been charged with murder in the second degree

The investigators, who are only labeled as “INV” in the transcript, said Green then appears to run over to Nazaire who is tussling with one of Green’s friends.

At that point, police said in the interview, Williams grabs Green’s backpack and throws him to the ground. Williams is “very descriptive” in his version of events, an investigator said during the interrogation of Green.

“He grabbed you and pulled you down,” the investigator said. “He’s not denying one little bit of his involvement. He’s not denying it. He was involved in a fight, there’s no doubt about it. He ends up on the bottom of the two of you. He says you ended up falling on top of him.”

“[Williams] calls for his buddy, and his buddy comes running over and gets a shot in, and collapses,” the investigator said, referring to Nazaire. “It appears that it’s at that point that you stabbed him and [Williams] in an effort to get away. That part would be understandable. It would be understandable. This wasn’t an intentional death, I’ll accept that.”

Over the course of several hours, the investigators prod Green to admit that he stabbed the two Ithaca College students. They told Green there was a rumor his grandmother knew he killed somebody.

They refer to Nazaire as “bleeding like a stuck pig,” and tell Green that his version of events is “lame. It’s worse than lame.” They tell Green he’s going to “come across as a liar” and that he will “look like a monster” in the eyes of the public if he doesn’t confess. The investigators ask Green if he’s willing to admit that he’s having nightmares.

One investigator tells him, “All of this comes back. Your eyes are popping because of the blow. You’re still replaying that in your head. I can see it in your eyes. … It’s called PTSD. Everybody gets it. You have it, I know you have it.”

Multiple times, the investigators tell Green they have video of portions of the fight and that Green will be able to see the clip as soon as it gets to the barracks. Then, at one point, when the investigators are discussing the murder weapon — a large black folding knife, according to police — one tells Green, “it was on the ground, with your DNA.”

Perehinec said in his motion that “No video whatsoever exists of Nagee Green stabbing anyone nor was Mr. Green’s DNA found on any knife located and collected at the scene, both facts being contrary to statements made by interrogators.”

Around the three-hour mark of the interrogation, Green tells investigators he remembers stabbing both Nazaire and Williams as he was trying to get up from under them.

An investigator asked, “Do you feel better getting this off your chest?”

“Yes,” Green replies.

“Do you have any questions for us?”

“Um, only if I could call my mom.”