NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A jury returned with a guilty verdict in the case of a man accused of killing a Newport News police officer.
The 12 jurors found Vernon Green guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Newport News Police Office Katie Thyne. He was also convicted of leaving the scene of an accident.
On the first day of the trial, Green appeared in court uncuffed in business clothes. He entered a not-guilty plea for both charges.
Authorities say Thyne, a 24-year-old former U.S. Navy sailor, was killed in January 2020 after she was dragged for a block by Green’s vehicle during a traffic stop before it crashed into a tree. She later died at the hospital.
Thyne joined the Newport News Police Department in 2018 and was assigned to the South Precinct.
On the third day of the trial, jurors heard directly from Green. He said he went to the “pier” with a “female passenger.” They were smoking marijuana.
He said five to ten minutes later, police arrived. Officer Thyne asked him to step out of the vehicle.
He wanted clarification on why he was being detained. He testified that he said, “No, tell me now… explain to me now.”
He said officers told him they would explain when he got out and that Officer Nicholas Meier said, “You making it worse on yourself.”
After Green continued to refuse, the officers tried to physically remove him. He said he never hit any of the officers and resisted with his body.
Green said he thought, “well, I got to remove myself.” He then started the car and tried to leave. He said he wanted to get away because he had a gun in the car and that he wasn’t allowed to possess a firearm as a convicted felon.
On direct examination, Green said, “I take off and I felt like… Officer Thyne on me.” During cross-examination, the Commonwealth’s Attorney asked him about his statement. He agreed he felt Officer Thyne as he was driving off.
Cassie Thyne-Fenlon, Officer Thyne’s aunt, said Green was cold on the stand.
“I can’t believe that a human being can be so cold. He didn’t have an ounce of remorse. He ruined so many lives and he doesn’t have remorse for it,” Thyne-Fenlon said.
In closing arguments, the Commonwealth said Green admitted to feeling her as he drove off.
The jury ultimately came to the guilty verdict after two hours of deliberations.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney said Green had a single-minded focus on the gun inside the car and that he intentionally put it into gear and drove off with Officer Thyne in the door.
Green’s attorney said Green wanted to drive away but never intentionally drove away to kill or harm anyone.
Officer Thyne’s aunt said it was good to hear the verdict.
“They made the right decision. He is guilty of everything,” Thyne-Fenlon said. “We feel a step closer to closure. It will always be a loss for us. Nothing will take that away. Knowing he is locked up for a very long time is a good thing.”
Green’s sentencing is scheduled for February 17.