Green murder charges to go to grand juryPublished 5:18pm Friday, April 15, 2011
The case of a Franklin County man charged with murder was bound over to the grand jury on Tuesday after Franklin County District Judge Paula McDowell determined there was enough probable cause following witness testimony.
Jason Dewayne Green, 35, 325 Oak Hills Drive, Russellville, was officially charged with murder on Feb. 1 after the shooting death of his girlfriend, 27-year-old Shay Nicole Ledlow, on Jan. 30.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Department investigator Sgt. Greg Pinkard said officers from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and the Russellville Police Department responded to a call that someone had been shot at 325 Oak Hills Drive about 10 p.m. on Jan. 30.
According to the 911 tape played at the preliminary hearing, Green originally told the 911 dispatcher that Ledlow’s wound was self-inflicted after the dispatcher asked him if she had shot herself.
“Yes,” Green answered in between sobs. “I dared her to, but I never thought she would.”
Green admitted to the dispatcher that both he and Ledlow had been drinking and when the dispatcher asked if they had also been arguing, Green eventually said they had.
“She was like ‘(expletive ) you. Hand me the (expletive ) gun,’ and I handed it to her,” Green said. “We were mad at each other, but I can’t believe she (expletive ) done it.”
Pinkard said when officers arrived on the scene, they discovered Ledlow had suffered a gunshot wound to her mouth. They also discovered alcohol, marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the residence.
Pinkard said during an interview with Green at the residence Green said they were arguing over something to do with Ledlow’s mother.
“I said ‘Do what you got to do,’ and then I said ‘Go ahead,’” Green said, speaking of when he told Ledlow to shoot herself. “We dared each other a bunch of times and this one time she pulled the trigger.”
Pinkard said even though Green told them Ledlow’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted, they noticed several things about the crime scene that raised suspicion, such as the gun being in Ledlow’s left hand.
“From previous dealings we had with her and from what her family and friends said, Shay was right-handed,” Pinkard said.
Alabama Bureau of Investigation Corp. Rodney Knight said the placement of the gun seemed suspicious to him as well.
“The location of the gun in the victim’s hand made it look like she shot herself on the ground, but during the investigation we learned she was standing by the front door,” Knight said.
“The size of the gun would also make it difficult from the recoil [for the gun] to land perfectly in the victim’s hand on the ground.”
After the autopsy was performed, Knight said investigators learned that several other things just didn’t seem to match up.
“According to the autopsy and from speaking with the doctor, the trajectory of the bullet was from front to back, slightly downward and to the left,” Knight said.
As Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Doug Evans demonstrated the position, Knight said the angle with which Ledlow would have had to use to shoot herself to match the trajectory raised suspicions as well.
Knight added crime scene reconstructor Roger Morrison also found things about the scene that he felt called for further investigation.
“[Morrison] said because Ledlow’s hands were small, the right hand would’ve had to have been utilized and there was no blood spatter on that hand,” Knight said.
Knight said they also spoke with Julie Taylor, Ledlow’s mother, who was with Ledlow earlier that day cleaning.
“At 9:13 p.m. [Taylor] received a text from Shay from Green’s phone, that said ‘Jason doesn’t want me to stay. Come get me,’” Knight said. “At 9:46 [Taylor] said she received a call from Shay from Green’s phone and she was pleading and screaming for her life saying ‘He’s gonna hurt me, come get me.’”
Knight said they also had documentation of abuse Ledlow suffered in the past at the hands of Green, and a statement taken from an unnamed witness who said Green gave him a different version of events.
“This witness said Green told him that Miss Ledlow was in a good mood and she started playing with the gun and spinning it on her finger like in ‘Doc Holiday’ and it discharged,” Knight said. “Green then told the witness he felt like he needed to make the scene appear as if she shot herself to keep suspicion off of him. He placed her hand up by her head and the firearm in her hand.”
Attorneys Jeff Barksdale and Billy Underwood were present to represent Green, and Underwood told Knight they wouldn’t be here if they had performed a simple test.
“We wouldn’t even be discussing this right now if you had done a gun powder residue test,” Underwood said.
Knight said a deputy had actually performed the test, but the Alabama Department of Public Safety will not check for evidence of gun powder residue.
Law enforcement officials also said that gun powder residue found on Green’s hands would not be sufficient evidence since Green admitted to handing Ledlow the gun and said that he moved her and the gun later.
Green was arrested at the scene and charged with second-degree possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia for the items found in the residence.
After being additionally charged with murder, he was later released after posting a $400,000 bond.
Green’s case will now proceed to the grand jury where jury members will listen to the facts of the case and decide whether or not to return an indictment in this case.