NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The trial of Vernon Green, a man accused of killing Newport News police officer, Katie Thyne, continues.
It was an emotional day of testimony Wednesday. The jury watched gruesome body camera footage and heard about Officer Thyne’s injuries.
“It’s just difficult to hear what happened, all the trauma that Katie had done to her. I think there was intent cause he didn’t have to do what he did,” Officer Thyne’s aunt, Cassie Thyne-Fenlon, said.
Wednesday morning started with opening statements from both sides.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney talked directly to the jury. He said at the conclusion he asked them to find Green guilty. He said no one should operate a motor vehicle with someone trapped.
The Commonwealth’s attorney said Green fled and didn’t ever stop to render aid.
He said Green didn’t want to be caught with a gun. Green is a convicted felon who wasn’t allowed to carry a firearm.
A forensic scientist found a gun and money in a blue bag with Green’s I.D at the scene.
Green’s attorney, Tyrone Johnson, started with, “I agree with the Commonwealth.” Johnson said he agreed with the facts and even described it as a “tragic death.”
Johnson said Green had no intent and it was a “freakish” incident.
The Commonwealth called witnesses, who painted a picture of the January 2020 incident.
A federal inmate testified Green said he and his girlfriend went to the Monitor Merrimac Overlook Park to “smoke a joint.”
An on-duty Newport News police officer was tasked to watch the south-end cameras. The officer spotted a car around the Monitor Merrimac Overlook Park.
He could see two people inside. He said the driver had his “head on a swivel.” The officer said it looked like they were rolling up a marijuana cigarette.
He asked for units to respond. Officer Thyne and Officer Nicholas Meier headed to 16th Street for the narcotics complaint.
Officer Meier testified he parked further away and walked on foot to the car. Officer Thyne pulled her car beside Green’s Mercedes.
Officer Meier said he smelled marijuana as he approached. He said the scent got stronger when the passenger rolled the window down.
He asked the passenger, identified by a witness as Green’s girlfriend, to step out. She stepped out and he handcuffed her. Officer Meier explained he wanted to detain the driver and passenger to control the situation.
At the same time, Officer Thyne was trying to speak with Green, the driver.
She asked him repeatedly to step out of the vehicle. She even asked him to put the keys on the dashboard.
Officer Meier later made his way to the driver’s side. He also asked Green to get out. He said Green questioned why he was under detention.
Officer Meier told Green he would explain once he stepped out. Green said, “What did we do?”
After multiple refusals, Officers Meier and Thyne tried to physically remove Green.
Officer Meier said Green held onto the steering wheel with both hands as they tried to remove him. At one point, Officer Meier said he was pushing off the floorboard to resist.
He said he got Green’s left hand off the wheel. Officer Meier said Green moved towards the center console and moved his foot towards the gas pedal.
Officer Meier backed away from the door frame.
Officer Thyne was unable to get away and was trapped in the door. Officer Meier said Green sped off at a “high rate” of speed. Body camera footage shows Officer Thyne trapped in the door as Green drove away.
Green later crashed the car nearly a mile away in an easement around the 100 block of Chesapeake Avenue.
He fled the vehicle.
Green was later arrested not too far away around Blair Avenue. A patrol officer found him and asked him if he had fled the vehicle. Green said, “yes, sir.”
The jury heard testimony from a federal inmate about a conversation he had with Green. He said Green explained the situation. The inmate said he explained how he put his car in gear and drove off. The inmate said he wanted to get away because he had a bunch of money and a gun. The defense questioned the inmate’s motives, asking him if he wanted a sentence reduction.
The traffic investigator testified Green was going around 30 miles per hour in his 2005 Mercedes.
The medical examiner described a list of injuries on Officer Thyne. She said the deadly injuries included a pelvic injury and blunt force trauma to the head and chest.
The Commonwealth rested around 2:30 p.m. after playing Officer Thyne’s body camera.
The defense indicates they may have one witness tomorrow. The jury will come in late so the defense can enter a motion to strike. The trial is expected to wrap up Thursday afternoon.
Officer Thyne’s aunt feels Green had the intent and hopes he is found guilty.
“I hope he gets the full extent of the law. That he goes away for a very long time,” she said. “We miss her and we love her. We just want Justice for Katie.”
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.