A Cincinnati man will face 16 months in prison after being sentenced Friday in the Morrow County Common Pleas Court over a six-year-old vehicular homicide case.
Matthew Green appeared in court with his attorney, Adam Bleile of Cincinnati, to change his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’ in a plea agreement, which brings to a close a case that began July 23, 2007.
According to published reports, Christopher Brown, 15, also of Cincinnati, was a passenger in a 2003 Ford Thunderbird driven by Green, then 16. The car, which was stolen from the garage of its registered owner, was traveling northbound on I-71 in excess of 100 mph when it veered off the right side of the interstate and struck a tree just north of State Route 95.
Green was life-flighted to Grant Medical Center. Brown, was extricated from the vehicle after an hour using the Jaws of Life and was life-flighted to Children’s Hospital in Columbus, where he died of his injuries less than 16 hours later.
The case was originally filed in juvenile court but was later transferred to the court of Common Pleas. There was a delay in the indictment, which was filed in 2011, because the defendant could not be located. The defendant was later found to be serving a sentence in Florida for an unrelated charge.
Green received 16 months for the fourth-degree vehicular homicide, and 16 months for receiving stolen property, also a fourth degree felony. The sentences which were issued by Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Hickson will be served concurrently.
Judge Hickson cautioned the defendant that if he rescinds his plea at a later date, the State of Ohio can re-charge him with his original indictments of Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter, which is a third degree felony, and fourth degree Receiving Stolen Property charges.
Assistant Morrow County Prosecutor Dave Homer requested that the court retain jurisdiction over the case and that restitution be determined at a later date. That request was granted by Judge Hickson. The defendant will also be charged for court costs which have not yet been determined.
The defendant recounted briefly the details of that day. Defense counsel Bleile wanted to stipulate that Green did not have a driver’s license at the time of the accident as that was one of the elements of the plea agreement. Green agreed that his actions that day were reckless. Prior to sentencing Bleiel, on behalf of his client, stated that the main thing that his client wanted to do was express remorse and sorrow to the victim’s mother.
The mother of the victim in the case sat silently throughout the proceedings until she was asked by Judge Hickson if she cared to make a statement.
“Christopher was my first born child and we were very close,” she said. “I never even knew Mr. Green. On the day that my son passed away, not only was I worried about my child, but I was worried about Mr. Green as well. I never blamed him because accidents happen and my son also had a choice to get in the car. He (Green) is a child, a child of God and I don’t want anything bad to happen to this child because he is going to have to deal with the fact that he was driving this car, that was his friend. I never wanted anything bad to happen to him. But him hiding and changing his name really bothered me and made me feel like my son meant nothing. But he did. He meant a whole lot.”
“I ask for your forgiveness, he was my friend, I am sorry for what happened to him on my behalf and by my hands,” Green responded.