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Crosley Green's last chance for freedom

Last Chance for Freedom
Last Chance for Freedom 46:21

Produced by Gail Abbott Zimmerman and Doug Longhini

[This story first aired on May 30, 2015. It was updated on Aug. 19, 2017]

For more than 18 years, "48 Hours" has investigated what many say is a case of injustice. That case began in the early morning hours of April 4, 1989, when a young woman called 911 saying she thought her boyfriend had been shot. The problem was she was three miles away from the crime scene and she had trouble telling police how to get there.

"Something was not right," said Mark Rixey, who at the time was a road patrol deputy for the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. "Why would somebody say there's something happening here and nothing's there?"

"All we had was that he had been shot and that he was in the orange groves. I sent a deputy to pick her up because we absolutely, would never have found her ... we'd have been there all night looking," Diane Clarke, who was a patrol sergeant in Brevard County, told "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty.

"She remained in the vehicle out here and refused to walk down there," said Rixey.

"'You don't wanna see him? You don't wanna know his condition?' ...there was something wrong with this," said Clarke.

Charles "Chip" Flynn
Charles "Chip" Flynn

The victim was 22-year-old Chip Flynn.

"It was a young white male ... laying on his side with his hands bound behind his back," said Rixey.

"He had a bullet wound, there was blood on the right side of his chest," Clarke explained. "We have a gun on the ground that we don't know who it belongs to."

Flynn was conscious when the deputies arrived. "Speaking very clearly ... he just said, "Get me outta here,'" said Rixey.

"'Who shot you?'" Clarke said of asking Flynn. "'Just take me home, God, get me out of here.'"

"'Could you at least tell us which way he went,'" Rixey asked Flynn.

"'Who did this to you?' He wouldn't tell us," Clarke continued.

"This is so not typical. It defies explanation," said Rixey.

First responder describes 1989 crime scene in Florida orange grove 01:43

Flynn died before the ambulance arrived.

The woman who called 911 was Flynn's former girlfriend, Kim Hallock. She said she and Flynn had been in his truck when a black man with a gun hijacked and drove them to that remote grove. She alone managed to get back into the truck and escape -- driving those three miles to Chip's friend's home.

"They needed someone to put that murder on and Crosley Green fit the bill," said private investigator Joe Moura.

"It's an example of race being a substitute for evidence," said attorney Keith Harrison.

"I didn't kill that young man," Crosley Green told Moriarty.

Today, 26 years after Green was sentenced to death for the murder of Flynn, there is new compelling evidence that the wrong person may have been sent to prison and the killer is still free.

"The first rule of homicide investigation is ... everybody who was at that scene is treated as a suspect until they're eliminated," said Rixey. "That's not the way this happened."


Washington D.C. attorneys Keith Harrison, Bob Rhoad and Jeane Thomas typically counsel an elite corporate clientele. But they are working for no pay at all to win freedom for 59-year old Crosley Green, incarcerated in Florida for almost 28 years.

"Crosley's case is special. Because it cries out for justice," Harrison told Erin Moriarty.

"You can't stop thinking about what happened to this individual, the injustice that occurred," said Rhoad.

"For me, I was offended. I was angry," said Thomas.

"The main focus of the case was that there was a black guy who had done something, the old, 'the black guy did it,'" said Harrison.

They accuse prosecutors of a rush to judgment in the murder of the young white man, Chip Flynn, found shot and dying in a remote Florida citrus grove in 1989. At the time, Chip had been living with his parents. They spoke with "48 Hours" in 1999.

"Rarely did you see him without a smile on his face, just rarely," his mother, Peggy Flynn" told "48 Hours."

The Flynns, now both deceased, told us they were shocked to learn that Chip had been with Kim Hallock that night. Kim was an ex-girlfriend and Chip was happily seeing someone else.

"That was all he talked about. He didn't mention Kim anymore or anything," Charles Flynn said of his son.

Kim Hallock
Kim Hallock

And Hallock's story -- that a man had robbed and hijacked them -- seemed strange. Police recorded her statement just hours after the shooting:

Detective: When was the first time you saw Chip yesterday?

Kim Hallock: About 10 at night. He came to my house.

Hallock said it began in the local baseball field, Holder Park. They were sitting in his truck when she first saw someone walk by.

"I told Chip there was a black guy on your side and he rolled up the window real quick," she told investigators in her statement.

Twenty minutes later, she says, Chip stepped out and she heard him say "hold on man."

"Chip had a gun in his glove box. I took the gun out of the glove box and stuck it under some jeans that were next to me," Hallock continued.

And then, she says she saw the man again:

Detective: Did you see that the black male was armed at that time?

Kim Hallock: Yes, I did.

She says the man tied Chip's hands with a shoelace. Then, he ordered her to hand over money from Chip's wallet. And then, with everyone in the truck, he drove them away -- steering, shifting gears and somehow holding a gun on them all at the same time.

Kim Hallock told police that when they got to the grove, the man yanked her out of the truck and then Chip--his hands still tied--somehow managed to get a hold of his gun hidden on the truck seat.

"Chip, his hands were behind his back, he leaned out of the truck and somehow shot at the guy and the guy stepped back. Chip jumped out of the truck, I jumped in the truck ... and I heard about five or six gunshots," she told investigators.

Investigators interview Kim Hallock hours after fatal 1989 Florida shooting 02:17

She said she then drove those three miles to Chip's friend's home to call for help.

"Wouldn't you stop at the first telephone that you came to, the first home that you came to, to call 911?" Rhoad asked.

Washington D.C. attorneys  Bob Rhoad, Keith Harrison and Jeane Thomas are working to win freedom for 57-year old Crosley Green.
Washington D.C. attorneys Bob Rhoad, Keith Harrison and Jeane Thomas are working to win freedom for Crosley Green. "48 Hours"

Crosley Green's current attorneys say a lot of Kim Hallock's story simply doesn't make sense.

"It's bizarre -- to be charitable," said Thomas.

"Chip ... with the gun in his hands tied behind his back ... opens the door of the truck and propels himself out of the truck, shooting at the black guy," Harrison said of Hallock's story.

Still, police seemed to take Hallock at her word, even though parts of her story changed. And she couldn't describe the assailant very well.

"I really didn't get a real good look at him. I was really scared," she told detectives.

Crosley Green
Crosley Green

The details she did give didn't really match the man detectives had in mind: Crosley Green, a small-time drug dealer recently released from jail. But later that night, they showed Kim a photo lineup with six photos. Hallock chose photo No. 2 - Crosley Green.

"That's a target with a bull's-eye for Crosley Green. ...His picture is smaller and darker than the other pictures," Harrison said of the photo lineup. "Anybody involved in police investigation and prosecution knows this. ...the position that your eyes are normally drawn to are right in the middle."

"It's a black spot," Green said of the photo. "That's what you focus on, that black spot."

Crosley Green, better known as Papa, became the father figure for his large family after his parents died. He admits he was no angel, but he says he has never done anything violent. At the time Chip Flynn was killed, he says he was with friends around two miles away.

"I kidnapped no one. I killed no one. I did none a those things," Green told Moriarty.

"The task at hand was finding a black guy to pin this on. And unfortunately for Crosley ... that's where their attention focused," said Rhoad.

"So when a young white woman says, 'A black man did it,' nobody questioned it?" Moriarty asked Tim Curtis, a local body shop owner and friend of Chip's.

"I don't think nobody questioned that," he replied.

Curtis also knew the Green family and helped spread the word: Crosley Green did it.

"...there was a lot of racial words bein' used. 'We're gonna get him, we're gonna get him. We're gonna get him. We're gonna get him.' You know?" said Curtis.

Crosley Green was arrested and charged with kidnapping, robbery and murder. At trial, prosecutors pointed to what they said were the killer's shoeprints found in Holder Park.

Footprints found at the crimescene
Footprints found at the crimescene

Assistant State's Attorney Christopher White--now retired-- told jurors that a police dog got the scent of those prints and tracked that scent to the vicinity of a house where Crosley Green sometimes stayed.

"You've seen those shoe impressions. It wasn't just her and Chip out there," White told Moriarty. "The shoe impressions were followed ... from the site where the truck was parked ... supporting what Kim said about there being a third person there, a black male, who abducted them and did these things."

But White was never able to match those shoeprints to Crosley Green or anyone else. What's more, not a single fingerprint of Green's was found anywhere on the truck. And despite Kim Hallock's claim that Chip had fired his gun trying to save her, no gunshot residue was found on Chip's hands.

"She's saying he fired the gun, and there be no gunshot residue left on his fingers? Is that possible?" Moriarty asked Harrison.

"It's highly improbable," he replied.

Still, prosecutors found three witnesses with criminal pasts who claimed Crosley had actually confessed to them -- most damning, his own sister Sheila. Before the case went to the jury, Crosley Green was offered a deal: admit guilt and get no more than 22 years.

"So why didn't you take it?" Moriarty asked Green in 1999.

"I didn't kill that young man. I keep telling you I didn't kill this young man, so why should I take that plea bargain?" he replied.

It took the all-white jury just three hours to convict Crosley Green; the judge sentenced him death.

"What's it like being here on death row?" Moriarty asked Green.

"It's hell," he replied. "It's hell to me because I'm here for a crime I didn't commit."

"Don't kill this guy. He didn't do it. He's innocent," said Joe Moura, who was a"48 Hours" consultant.


Back in 1999, Crosley Green spoke about the obvious inconsistencies in the case against him.

Crosley Green during a 1999 interview with "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty.
Crosley Green during a 1999 interview with "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty. "48 Hours"

Kim Hallock had told police her assailant had long hair that covered his ears.

"Was any of your hair over your ears?" Moriarty asked Green, whose hair was cut short and above his ears.

"They way I look now is the way I looked then," he replied.

When "48 Hours" first reported on the case, a team of private detectives from around the country who believed in Crosley Green's innocence were working pro bono to prove it.

"It's not every day do you see this kind of injustice," said Moura.

Moura found it difficult to believe that Crosley had confessed to three people.

"So Crosley ends up shooting somebody. And he decides he's gonna tell everybody in town, 'Guess what, it was me.' Not credible. It's not credible at all," he said.

So Moura tracked down those witnesses. Sheila Green told Moura that she had lied at trial. Even though she knew she could be dooming her brother, she said she had no choice.

Sheila Green talks with Erin Moriarty in 1999.
Sheila Green talks with Erin Moriarty in 1999.

"Basically, they told me that this was my last chance to help myself, 'cause I was already convicted," she told Moriarty in 1999.

At the time she testified, Sheila was facing sentencing on drug charges herself.

"What did they say would happen if you didn't testify against your brother?" Moriarty asked Sheila.

"I would never see my kids again," she replied.

And when Moura found the other two witnesses, they told him similar stories.

"Every witness recanted their story," Moura explained. "And every one of them had reason to be afraid of the police. ...They were squeezed. ...And they were squeezed hard."

With Crosley Green's sister and his two friends recanting, the private detectives focused on crime scene evidence: notably, those shoeprints in Holder Park that prosecutors said corroborated Kim's story.

"At trial, the prosecutor said ... 'There's no question that those tracks ... are the tracks of the murderer," Moriarty told criminologist Lisa DiMeo, referring to a diagram of the crime scene. "Would you agree with that statement?"

"Absolutely not," she replied.

DiMeo, part of Crosley Green's team in 1999, says that although jurors were told that a dog tracked the shoeprints of Chip's killer, police crime scene video actually contradicts that:

Crime scene video: These shoeprints after proceeding west will then continue on just to the outside of the fence...

If these were the tracks of an assailant, they should end where the truck was reportedly parked. But, in fact, DiMeo says, those prints continue past the truck, along the fence and appear to leave the park.

"If these shoe prints are going out this way," Moriarty said, pointing to the footsteps by the fence on the far right side of the diagram, "how can they belong to the assailant if in fact he got in the truck back here? [points to left side of diagram.] They couldn't."

"No. No, they couldn't," DiMeo affirmed.


The original investigators may have worried about that, too. On that diagram shown at trial, there should be some shoeprints that go from where the truck was to along the chain link fence, but there aren't.

"This diagram supports Kim Hallock's story. But this diagram doesn't match the evidence at the scene?" Moriarty asked DiMeo.

"Correct," she replied. DiMeo said, "This was necessary to make her story fit."

Chip's wallet was found at Holder Park, but DiMeo says there are still troubling inconsistencies in Kim Hallock's story. Hallock said both she and Chip had been barefoot and that Chip had been forced to kneel in the sand.

"There's no bare footprints. ...there are no knee prints. There's no shin prints. 'Cause if you're gonna kneel, your shins are gonna be on the ground," DiMeo explained. "And the ground is not disturbed, you know, by all this activity and action."

  • Did investigators make facts fit the crime?

Hallock also said that when she escaped and left Chip in that grove, she heard five to six gunshots as she drove away. But investigators found no shell casings or bullets to support that. The only bullet found was the one that killed Chip.

And why didn't Hallock get help for Chip immediately?

"I just drove off and I went to the nearest place to his best friend's house," she told detectives in a recorded statement.

But was it the nearest place? Hallock passed several houses, a pay phone, and then turned off the highway just before a major hospital.

"You can second guess her all you want. But unless you lived what she lived ... I don't think you're gonna know how you're gonna react in that situation, after bein' traumatized like she was," said White.

"A jury got to listen to all of the evidence ... and they got to see all of the exhibits. And they made a determination as to what they believed happened," he told Moriarty.

Former Florida prosecutor comments on Crosley Green case 01:35

But the jury didn't hear everything that local body shop owner Tim Curtis knew. Once eager to see Crosley convicted, Curtis has changed his mind.

"Now I'm startin' to relive a lot of things," he told Moriarty, "and I'm like, none of it at all made sense. None of it at all made sense."

Chip Flynn's truck
Chip Flynn's truck

As it turns out, Curtis had sold Chip Flynn that truck shortly before he died.

"It wasn't an easy truck to drive," said Curtis.

The truck was hard to handle because it had a custom gear shift.

"Here's what any normal person would think, they see a stick shift and think, 'I'm gonna put it in first gear and take off outta here.' And that's where he woulda made his first mistake," said Curtis.

"What would've happened?" Moriarty asked.

"He woulda stalled the truck," he replied.

Asked why that that relevant in this case, Moura told Moriarty, "... because Crosley Green didn't have much experience drivin' a car if any. ...He certainly couldn't have gone into that truck on day one and taken off down the road. It just wasn't going to happen."

According to what Kim Hallock told police, the assailant had no trouble -- even while brandishing a gun. Yet "48 Hours" learned that she told Chip's parents a different story.

"She was having to shift the gears for him. He would just mash the clutch and she would shift the gears. He was making her do that," said Charles Flynn.

Joe Moura and the other private detectives were convinced they'd found enough new evidence to get Crosley Green a new trial.

"We came into the picture 10 years late. And in 10 years, we started turning things around, very quickly, actually," said Moura.

"I'm positive they gonna get me outta here. There's no question about that," Green told Moriarty in 1999.

But the courts weren't convinced and Crosley Green remained on death row.


"I told Chip there was a black guy," Kim Hallock told investigators in a recorded statement. "The black guy stepped out with a gun. ...I really didn't get a good look at him, I was scared."

The lineup -- Crosley Green's photo is in the top row center.
The lineup -- Crosley Green's photo is in the top row center.

"When I went to homicide school ... they told us that this spot is the most likely that someone will pick a picture from," Mark Rixey said of the photo lineup.

"And where exactly is Crosley Green in that--"

"That's Crosley Green right in that spot," Green said, pointing to the second of three images in the top row.

"Anything that strikes you about this lineup?" Moriarty asked Christopher White.

"You can't see the guy in the top middle very well at all," he replied. "Crosley Green's photo is the darkest."

White, the prosecutor in the case, admits the photo lineup that led to Crosley Green's arrest was seriously flawed.

"Would you do this today?" Moriarty asked White.

"Well, no, no. Ideally, I would not," he replied.

"Could she have picked the wrong person?"

"I don't think she did, you know? Was she unduly influenced?" White said. "Was she guessing more than she was sure? I couldn't tell you for sure."

"If you don't specifically know who you're looking for, then that's the spot you will pick nine times out of 10," said Rixey.

But Mark Rixey, the Brevard County deputy sheriff first at the scene, says the investigation went off the rails before Kim Hallock was shown that lineup.

"There is no logical explanation I can think of for her to be eliminated as a suspect," he told Moriarty.

Rixey and Diane Clarke, both now retired, spoke publicly for the first time to "48 Hours."

"Mark and I are standin' out in the orange grove in the dark night, we're like, 'She's involved somehow.' And to this day I feel she's involved somehow," said Clarke.

"She said Chip got outta the truck, started shooting, which allowed her to escape," said Rixey.

"What did you think when you heard that story?" Moriarty asked Rixey.

"I thought it was totally preposterous," he said.

Rixey had been patrolling Holder Park at the time when Hallock said the hijacking first took place.

"I do remember going through the park with my spotlights on, but I never saw any vehicle there," he said.

"And as you were driving through the park, did you also -- did you see any black man walking?" Moriarty asked.

"I didn't see anybody," said Rixey. And he didn't hear anything."

Although Hallock said the assailant fired his gun while tying Flynn's hands...

"The black guy stepped out with a gun," she was recorded telling investigators. "When he was tying Chip's hands his gun went off."

"There was no projectile. There was no casing. There were no reports of a gunshot from Holder Park," said Rixey.

But most troubling, they say, is Kim Hallock's inexplicable delay in calling for help for the young man she said she still loved.

"When you think of the time of the call and the time we were finally able to get him, you're looking at ... close to 40 minutes," said Clarke.

While waiting for an ambulance, Clarke twice gave Flynn CPR, but couldn't save him.

"I've saved a lotta lives over the years. And it really bothers me that he maybe could've survived that had he been taken care of sooner," she said.

"We did everything we could to try to save him," says first responder 01:39

To this day, they wonder why Brevard County detectives failed to do even a basic investigation of Hallock.

"That's homicide 101, anybody who is present at the scene of a shooting ... gets their hands tested for gunshot residue," Rixey explained. "That should have been the very first thing that was done. ...That was never done."

"No G.S.R. taken of her hands? Why not?" Moriarty asked White.

"I don't know if there was or wasn't at this point -" he said.

"There wasn't. Why weren't her clothes collected? Why weren't pictures taken?" Moriarty asked.

"I don't remember if they were," White replied.

"They weren't. Why weren't pictures taken of -- of her hands, her arms, to see if she had any injuries?"

"Well, those are all interesting questions," White said. "I guess they could've done more examination. I'll give you that, OK?"

But today, as back then, White insists Hallock's story is plausible.

Detective: What was he doing with the gun at the time?

Kim Hallock: He had it at me.

Detective: Was he holding it there while he was shifting, too? How was he doing that?

Kim Hallock: He had it in his hand while he was shifting, I'm pretty sure.

"How did he steer, shift, and hold a gun on her side?" Moriarty asked White.

"Well, I think it's possible," he replied.

"But it would be difficult. You would admit that."

"You know -- I think it would be -- a lot more difficult than having your hand free. Am I gonna say it's impossible? No," said White.

And White continued to believe Hallock even when, four months after the shooting, both officers went to see the prosecutor.

"I had an interview with Chris White. Mark and I both," said Clarke.

White's notes of that meeting reveal that both Rixey and Clarke said they believed Hallock shot Flynn.

"It was kinda like, 'OK, you can go now,' kinda thing," said Clarke.

"Why didn't you then take their word seriously and investigate to see if, in fact, they were correct?" Moriarty asked White.

"I reviewed all the evidence that we had with that hypothesis in mind," he replied.

White says he simply wasn't troubled by questions they raised.

" they give me cause to believe that Kim Hallock may have committed this murder, my answer is, after lookin' at it all, my answer is no," said White.

"Elected officials wanna show numbers. Crosley Green just got out of prison. He's an easy mark," said Clarke.

"Do you believe that Crosley Green is the one that shot Chip Flynn?" Moriarty asked Rixey.

"I don't think Crosley Green ever laid eyes on Chip Flynn," he replied.

Mark Rixey believes that Chip Flynn may have been killed with his own gun, but the bullet was too damaged to connect it to any firearm.

"There is just no evidence that there was any third party involved at all, let alone Crosley Green," said Jeane Thomas.

Thomas, Bob Rhoad and Keith Harrison, Crosley's current attorneys, have tracked down new alibi witnesses who say Green wasn't at the orange grove, but Christopher White questions their credibility.

"Those people are not law abiding, honest people that you can trust to tell the truth," White told Moriarty. "I'm sorry, but that's the way I took it.

Yet, if you remember, White used Green's sister and two of his friends to testify for the state at trial.

"So Mr. White, then ... you're using people that you say have no credibility and you offered them deals, helped them out, if they would say that Crosley Green confessed. You say you used people that had no credibility," said Moriarty.

"Uh-huh," White affirmed. "And we let the jury know that."

"I felt all we did was put them in a position where they were willing to tell the truth. That's what I thought," White continued.

Crosley Green's attorneys won a major victory in 2009. Because the trial court erred in sentencing Green, he was taken off of death row.

"I felt real good at that time, that that was over with. But I knew I have another hundred yards to go," he told Moriarty.

Crosley Green
Crosley Green

He's still in prison because a Florida state court ruled recanting witnesses can't be trusted. It upheld Crosley Green's conviction but resentenced him to life. There were also DNA tests done, post trial, on two tiny body hair fragments that were found in debris from Chip Flynn's truck.

"One of them, there was sufficient DNA there to obtain a result using MTA DNA," said White.

That DNA, known as mitochondrial DNA, couldn't be matched to any one person, but Crosley Green couldn't be excluded either.

"It's not a match. ...the mitochondrial DNA test cannot definitively say, 'This DNA is this individual's DNA,'" Thomas explained. "Crosley's maternal relatives, for example, would be in this group that is not excluded."

And, in fact, Crosley's brother, O'Connor, was in that truck.

"O'Connor had been in that truck several times," said Tim Curtis.

Curtis, who hung out with O'Connor, believes that hair was in the truck before he sold it to Chip Flynn and has told authorities that.

"You have that one hair that could've come from someone else, his brother. Is there any other physical evidence, anything, that connects Crosley Green to this case?" Moriarty asked White.

"I guess the simple answer to that is no," he replied.

"So let me--"

"What is wrong with those crazy jurors? What is wrong with those crazy judges?" While said. "Luckily, in this country, we have a judicial system. ...the system has worked."

But that same judicial system in Brevard County put this innocent man behind bars for more than two decades.

"Crosley Green was convicted even though he didn't match the original description of an assailant. There were witnesses who later said they were coerced into testifying," Moriarty commented to Bill Dillon. "Sound familiar?"

"Very familiar," he replied. "It's the same thing that happened to me in Brevard County. ... They put me away for 27 ½ years."


"Have you ever had a case where three witnesses that you asked to take the stand have recanted and lied? Have you ever had a case?" Erin Moriarty asked Prosecutor Christopher White.

"You know, I never have. I-- I never have," he replied.

"That doesn't trouble you?"

"Not coming from those people with those ties to the Green family and the Green family being what it is, no. It doesn't trouble me a great deal," said White.

But it does trouble Crosley Green's attorneys. In court documents, they accuse the Brevard County State's Attorney's Office of pressuring witnesses.

"They coerced witnesses ... to lie and it's really as though you see -- a deliberate pattern of the state creating evidence to achieve a result that they wanted to achieve and that's what they got," said Jeane Thomas.

They say that in the 1980s, Brevard County put away three men whose convictions have since been overturned. Take the case of Bill Dillon.

"I kept thinking that, 'I do not wanna die in this graveyard prison with "murderer" over my ... tombstone,'" he told Moriarty.

Bill Dillon
Bill Dillon

Eight years before Crosley Green was arrested, Bill Dillon was charged with a murder he didn't commit.

"Bill Dillon's case was a travesty of justice. From the very beginning to the end, it was a case of fabrication," said attorney Mike Pirolo, who helped win Dillon his freedom. "Bill Dillon's life was stolen from him."

In August 1981, Bill Dillon was a 20-year-old baseball prospect about to get a second tryout with the Detroit Tigers when the badly beaten body of a 40-year-old man was discovered by a beach near his home.

"The suspect in the case was described as around 5'10" ... and had a moustache," said Pirolo.

The description didn't match Dillon.

"I'm 6'4". And I never ever had a moustache," he told Moriarty.

But, as in the Crosley Green case, the fact that the description didn't fit didn't seem to matter.

"There couldn't have been anything in their minds that made them think I did it other than my size," Dillon said. "...that I fit the profile of beating a man to death."

Prosecutors found witnesses near the beach who said they saw Dillon wearing a shirt that looked like a bloody yellow T-shirt connected to the killer.

"Exactly what they did to me is the kind of techniques they use," Dillon said. "They use misidentification witnesses, they tell the people that, 'We know it's him, we just need somebody to identify him.'"

There was also John Preston, a dog handler, who was later discredited as a fraud, who had done the seemingly impossible.

"He ... tracked the crime scene after a hurricane had went through," said Dillon.

Although Hurricane Dennis soaked the beach shortly after the murder, Preston claimed his dog was able to track Dillon's scent across a highway to the crime scene.

"Nobody seemed to think that that was incredible," said Dillon.

Bill Dillon served more than half his life in prison before tests showed that DNA found on the yellow T-shirt belonged to someone else.

"I was released on November 18, 2008, at 5:00 in the evening," he said.

"How long had you spent in prison?" Moriarty asked.

"I'd spent at that point, 27-and-a-half years," Dillon replied.

Imprisoned for 27 years, innocent man sings about wrongful conviction 02:04

"I use to think when I was in prison sitting there, 'what did I do' or 'what went wrong?' And then I realized to me it ... was like some certain person had sort of turned a switch and just said "convict him. It doesn't matter. We just need to get some people or him off the street."

From left: Bill Dillon, Wilton Dedge and Juan Ramos were all wrongfully convicted in Brevard County, Fla. Their convictions have been overturned.

The two other cases in Brevard County that were overturned were both prosecuted by Christopher White. Juan Ramos, 25, was sentenced to death for rape and murder in 1983. He won a new trial, was acquitted and released five years later. But Wilton Dedge, 20, would spend 22 years in prison even though he looked nothing like the rapist police were looking for.

"I mean they're looking for a guy six foot tall, 200 pounds. I am not even close," said Wilton Dedge.

Dedge was only 5'5" and weighed 125 pounds. Investigators explained away the difference.

"The height difference that I was actually wearing a pair of boots with six inch heels on 'em, to make up the height," he said of the explanation. "I kid you not.'

In the Dedge case, White also relied on the same discredited dog handler who helped convict Dillon. But two decades later, after DNA tests proved his innocence, Dedge was finally released.

"There was a lot of anger, the stuff I had to deal with in there, the people, the atmosphere, the guards, the confinement. I lost a lot," said Dedge.

"How do you feel about that?" Moriarty asked White.

"I feel that it's a terrible thing that an innocent person would be put behind bars. And I don't like bein' a part of that, if that occurred. But, we presented the evidence. It laid out like it did, and it went the way it did... And all I could do is tell him that I was sorry that it worked out the way it does," he replied.

"A blind eye was turned too many times," Pirolo said. "They were so consumed with the win, the conviction, that at the end of the day, it's, 'Well, who's going to care about a Mr. Dillon or a Mr. Green.'"


"You've gotta understand. It's kind of a small community here in Titusville. Kim Hallock lived ... in the area where I lived," said Christopher White.

The retired prosecutor says he has no doubt that Kim Hallock told the truth about what happened to Chip Flynn in 1989.

"I don't see how there's anything here concrete to tell anybody that Kim Hallock lied, and it didn't happen the way that she says it happened," White told Moriarty.

But he doesn't sound as sure about the man she identified as the assailant.

"That still leaves you with the issue of whether or not it's Crosley. And you have arguments pro and con about that. But the one thing I'm sure of, based on the evidence in this case, it wasn't Kim Hallock, OK?" White continued.

Did Christopher White put an innocent man on death row?

"When you look at this case, it is all circumstantial. I would love to have had a stronger case," said White.

"As you sit here today, do you believe Crosley Green is the man who shot Chip Flynn?" Moriarty asked.

"Yes, I do. Yes, I do," said White.

But private detective Joe Moura says there is no evidence to support that.

"I was determined that we actually were gonna get this guy outta jail. ...I honestly with all my heart felt that it was very possible," he said. "I always felt like we coulda probably done more. We should have done more."

With Green's state appeals -- nine of them -- now exhausted, his attorneys have one last hope: federal court.

"The first sentence of petition is, 'this is a case about innocence,'" said attorney Jeane Thomas.

In their petition, they say "Mr. Green's conviction is part of a distinct pattern and practice of government misconduct in Brevard County."

"You ... in your brief said that prosecutorial misconduct in this case was rampant and pervasive," Moriarty noted to attorney Keith Harrison.

"As a former prosecutor ... It's incredibly difficult to write a brief that suggests prosecutorial misconduct," Harrison explained. "It's hard to ignore the pattern. ...but the prosecution and the police seem to do the wrong thing again and again and again."


At the heart of their case: those notes from White's meeting with officers Mark Rixey and Diane Clark. White never revealed that information to the defense.

"It's probably the most important document in the entire case," said Harrison.

"The State has an obligation, a constitutional obligation, to turn over any materials ... that might help Crosley in his defense," Thomas explained. " And the prosecutor failed to turn them over."

White points out the state court sided with him.

"It's been reviewed, it's been determined, that, in fact, there was nothing wrong with what was disclosed and what wasn't disclosed," he said.

"Those notes say, 'Clark and Rixey think the girl did it,'" said Harrison.

"Why wouldn't you at least give the most minimal deference to what these first responders ... have suggested to you about who the perpetrator might be?" said Rhoad.

And it is only now, 28 years later, that White confronts another possibility: that the shooting could have been something other than murder.

"Why couldn't the shooting have been an accident? You have two kids who were stoned. ...they were smoking marijuana ... She never expected him to die, which is why she was not in a hurry to call 911. He never expected to die, which is why he never said what happened," Moriarty suggested. "Isn't that also a possible scenario?"

"Anything is possible. But that's the first I've heard of that," White replied.

"What do you believe happened to Chip Flynn on April 4, 1989?" Moriarty asked Green's attorneys.

"Well, none of us were there. So we can't say what happened," Harrison said. "The evidence points in one direction. ...And it doesn't point anywhere in the direction of Crosley Green."

Kim Hallock, now a 47-year-old wife and mother, still lives in Titusville. She didn't respond to our request for an interview, but in a letter to "48 Hours" in 1999, she wrote in part: "The fact is that there are only two surviving witnesses from that evening, myself and Crosley, and I'm sure deep down inside Crosley knows that he is right where he deserves to be."

For the past 26 years, Crosley Green has been a model inmate and works in maintenance at a prison outside Sarasota.

Crosley Green and "48 Hours"' Erin Moriarty before their 2015 interview.
Crosley Green and "48 Hours"' Erin Moriarty before their 2015 interview. "48 Hours"

"What do you want people to know about you?" Moriarty asked Green.

"I'm human. I'm human like anyone else," he replied. "I am grateful for a lot of things. I'm grateful to -- to be here sitting in front of you again."

"Crosley's not a broken man," attorney Keith Harrison said. "He really has an extremely strong spirit."

And while some people can't understand why his own sister would help convict him, Green says he does.

"Her testimony, that wasn't her testimony. That was the State testimony," he said.

"Does she feel a lot of guilt?" Moriarty asked.

"Of course she do. But that's my sister and I want her to know that I love her and --, " he said, overcome with emotion. "No matter what, I'm not angry at her."

O'Connor Green: "My brother is not a killer" 01:03

"How long are you guys in for this?" Moriarty asked Green's attorneys.

"As long as it takes," they replied in unison.

"It's an uphill climb," said Thomas.

"The odds are stacked against anyone who is trying to overturn their conviction," Harrison explained. "What makes this case different is the mountain of evidence that demonstrates that Crosley Green is actually innocent."

Including those alibi witnesses -- 10 of them who put Crosley Green miles from the scene of the crime and the fact that the prosecution's star witnesses all have recanted.                                                                                                                 

But in January 2016, Crosley Green's petition for a new trial was denied. This time for procedural reasons for allegedly missing a deadline.

Seth Miller runs the Innocence Project of Florida.

"People are alarmed to find out that courts have no problem at all saying you filed one day late… we're gonna use that as a basis to keep you in prison for the rest of your life not withstanding the fact that you can prove a clear miscarriage of justice," said Miller.

"Something that simple, that trivial?" Moriarty asked.

 "Yes," Miller replied. "Crosley Green could stay in prison despite having clear evidence of innocence and clear evidence that he should not have been convicted in the first place because of a procedural technicality."

And then, just this past June, there was a remarkable development. The 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals will allow Green's attorneys to argue in person why his case should not have been dismissed. If the three-judge panel agrees, Crosley Green will finally get his case heard in federal court. 

"The fact that these three judges are willing to both allow the appeal and have the oral argument suggests there's great interest in … both the procedure and the substance of the case. And I think it makes it more likely that they're willing to send it back," Miller explained.

Back to the federal court, which will decide whether to uphold Green's conviction or overturn it. After 28 years behind bars, Crosley Green still dreams of freedom.

"I want a new trial. ...I want the courts to look at my case," Green told Moriarty. "It takes time. You know, there's this old saying, 'It's easy to get in and it's hard to get out.' And that's what I'm going through."

"Do you believe there's been a real miscarriage of justice here?" Moriarty asked Miller.

 "Yeah, absolutely," he replied. "We have to not be afraid to say 'I got it wrong' and we have to do something about it. We shouldn't just preserve convictions for convictions sake.  This isn't about wins and losses. It's about the lives of real people."

Crosley Green's attorneys are expected to make their appeal in court in November.

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