DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Is this a blueprint on how to get away with murder in Mississippi?
When China Jones was killed in January of 2011, it was sad enough; now the case is turning bizarre.
The man charged with killing her was found to be insane, then sane again, and could be getting off scot-free. The case of Jelani Greene dredges up an obscure, seldom applied law which most people have never heard of.
Just days before China Jones was murdered and Greene was charged with killing her, posts on his Facebook page reveal his thoughts, and are perhaps key to his pending freedom.
Among many postings, Greene wrote: “God has shown me how to move in a room full of vipers. I love him for it. Christ said the world hated me first. It shall also hate you. Bring it. Let’s go.”
Now, Jelani Greene may indeed be going - home from prison.
“It’s very unusual,” said Arthur Horne III, co-defense attorney for Greene. “In all my years practicing law I’ve never seen anything like it. But it’s the law.”
In the case of Greene, charged with killing China Jones in January 2011 on Pecan View Drive in Olive Branch, the law referred to is the McNaughton Rule.
“The McNaughton Rule basically says at the time the crime was committed, he could not appreciate the nature and quality of his acts. He is not guilty by reason of insanity,” said Desoto County District Attorney John Champion.
As one might imagine, the family of China Jones was distraught.
“The justice system is just not fair,” said Sandra Jones Phillips, China’s mother. “We need to change some laws to make things better.”
In Greene’s case though, that is not likely.
“Based on the current status of Mississippi law,” Champion told abc24.com, “the judge is going to be left with no choice but to release him.”
That left thoughts of what could happen in the future, uppermost in the thoughts of most people involved in the case.
“He could do the same thing again,” said Jones Phillips.
Even the district attorney admitted to that possibility.
“Obviously in the back of my mind, yeah, that could happen.” Champion told abc24.com.
Defense attorney Horne III maintained, “The findings are that he does not pose a threat to himself or society.”
China’s mother refused to buy into that sentiment.
“You ripped everybody else’s life apart,” Jones Phillips said, “and he thinks he’s gotten off; but in God’s eyes he has not gotten off.”
Maybe not in Heaven, but in Mississippi, “My hands are tied,” said Champion. “There’s nothing we can do about it because we have to follow the law, whether it sucks or not.”
Jelani Greene is scheduled for a Desoto court hearing August 7, 2012.
Defense attorney Horne III said if all goes well Greene will be going home, adding: “In a case like this, nobody wins.”
Sandra Jones Phillips and her family will be at that hearing, as she put it, “Re-living the nightmare.”
Greene will voluntarily check himself into the Delta Mental Health facility in Memphis for after-care.