An Eighth District Court jury took less than a half-hour to find 40-year-old Darrell Don Green not guilty of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence Wednesday afternoon.
Green had been accused of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence in a note written on a gas station credit card application in early April of 2013 and leaving it at a convenience store on East Shannon Road at Helm Lane that indicated two Hopkins County jail escapees were headed for Mount Pleasant and suggested he was being held hostage by saying “Help me please.”
In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Peter Morgan told the six man, six woman jury about the escape of Brian Allen Tucker, who was awaiting trial for capital murder, and John Marlin King, who was being held for violating parole on a 40-year prison sentence.
The escape, Morgan said, occurred just after the slaying of the district attorney in Kaufmann and his wife and that law enforcement resources were pulled from that investigation to assist in the search for the jail escapees.
Defense attorney Deric Walpole told jurors the trial was not about whether or not Green wrote the note, but said his intent was not to hamper the search for the escapees.
“What he did was incredibly, incredibly stupid,” Walpole said. “It was an attempt at a really bad joke, he was not thinking. He had no intent.”
The defense attorney said he and Green were pleased with the not guilty verdict and also understood the reason the charges were filed.
“I think the right outcome was reached,” Walpole said. “I certainly understand why the conduct was such a concern for law enforcement at the time it occurred. These guys are out and on the loose and one of them is looking at a death sentence and [law enforcement] thought it may have had something to do with the Kaufmann DA getting killed and, then, my client writes a note.
“He didn't do what they charged him with, which was intending to help these guys escape,” the defense attorney said. “It was a mistake and the jury agreed with our position in that regard.”
In his opening comments to the jury, Walpole said what Green did was “incredibly, incredibly stupid” and the intent was not to hamper the investigation into the escape or search for the escapees.
“It wasn't the smartest thing to do for sure ,” Walpole said. “And for that, he was definitely consequenced and for that a third-degree felony I don't think would be the right result.”